As the economy regains some momentum, and hiring appears to be making a comeback, managers should keep a close eye on their most talented people — who might be looking to leave. According to a recent Corporate Leadership Council survey, 25 percent of “high potential” employees in 2010 reported they planned to leave their jobs within a year — compared to just 10 percent of the same group in 2006. It also revealed that 21 percent of these highly-valued individuals consider themselves “highly disengaged” in their work.
Bill Conaty and Ram Charan's popular 2010 book, The Talent Masters, explored this very issue by analyzing best practices around retention at companies like General Electric and Procter & Gamble. Small Business Trends recently showcased Talent Masters' key strategies to keep top-notch employees engaged — here are the key takeaways for managers and execs looking to hold on to their all-stars. Training, not surprisingly, plays a big part.
1. Get (more) engaged. Talk to employees about their goals and what could be setbacks in reaching them. Determine if setbacks are due to personal characteristics or a training gap, and devise plans to get over the humps along the way.
2. Rev up the feedback loop. Give employees ongoing constructive criticism, as well as positive feedback. Don’t think you have enough time? Consider this, former GE and P&G heads spent 40 percent of their time on personnel issues.
3. Invest in off-site training. You don’t need to invest in high-cost training programs; instead pay employees’ memberships fees to industry associations and suggest they utilize the training opportunities, conferences and seminars.
4. Offer more in-house training. Develop mentor relationships amongst employees and offer cross-training to allow everyone at your company can learn more about each others’ jobs.
5. Re-set stretch goals. Encourage real-life learning, also known as “baptisms by fire” or “accelerator experiences.” Throw talented employees into new tasks so they can learn independently to develop management skills.