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Employee development is imperative for keeping your team on track and engaging them in their current position. Research has shown that developing and implementing a career plan is one of the core ways of keeping them ready to perform and even increase performance. But what if you invest in training your star players and they use their new skill set to walk out your door and find their next job?


Here is how to keep your star players walking out the door.

  1. Be proactive. Consistent engagement with your employees is the first line of defense in keeping them from leaving the company, or even worse, being poached by a competitor. Because employees often leave their manager versus the organization, make sure that you are not the manager that they are trying to leave! With consistent engagement, you will have the opportunity to simultaneously help them develop their career plan, and find out how you may be misfiring on communication or planning issues. The average employee tenure is shorter now than it has been in the past, particularly among millennials. With lifetime employment in the rear view mirror, it is especially critical for leaders to communicate well and strengthen their skills.
  2. Reward the good with the best. Consistent recognition is an invaluable tool in employee retention. Failing to acknowledge their hard work and accomplishments (small or large) is a quick way to ensure disengagement. Keep letting them know their contributions and reward them appropriately. A comprehensive development plan for your star players will pay off. How about your average performers? Develop another plan for them, and consistently convey their potential.
  3. Align talent and goals. One size does not fit all. Where possible, give responsibilities and projects that specifically match the employee’s natural talents and career goals. It will help establish and maintain meaning. Having meaningful work is one of the top reasons that employees stay working for an employer.
  4. Take a hard look at your own role in communication problems. Do your employees have a clear understanding of the organization’s mission? How about your core culture and the department’s priorities? Communicate it clearly and often. Give all of your employees the opportunity to assess the organization and department goals, and how they fit into their own career plans. Learn more about effectively communicating to manage performance!
  5. Offer perks. As leaders, we all have limitations as to what we can offer our employees. Budget limitations are the most imposing and prevalent. The good news is that money isn’t what keeps your high performing employees from leaving. What other perks can you provide? A department party? How about an afternoon off? How about other cultural perks such as public recognition? Gather the perks you can offer so you are ready to use them whenever you need a way to recognize one of your employees.
  6. Find their pain. Look for the consistent stressors in your workplace. It might be something as small as a copier that is always breaking down, or as important as one member who consistently causes conflicts among their team.  Let them know it’s your priority to resolve the stressor and follow through on it.
  7. Show gratitude. It sounds simple, but it has great impact. Say thank you and let each person know the value of their contributions. Be specific and talk about their behavior, not their personality. Consider Indra Noovi, the CEO of Pepsi. She has adopted the behavior of writing personal letters to the parents of her direct reports. She writes, “…therefore I’m writing to thank you for the wonderful gift of your son, who is doing this at Pepsi, and what a wonderful job this person is doing.”  This is not a typical practice, and while most leaders would not go to such lengths, the lesson is clear. -Gratitude pays off in engaged employees.

At EDSI, we have been resolving employee development, leadership, generational, professional presence, and personal effectiveness issues for over 30 years. Contact us to learn how we can help increase productivity and profits in your organization. 800-282-3374 

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