People leave jobs for a number of reasons; when their job isn’t enjoyable, their strengths are not being used, they are not growing in their careers, or feel that they are not fulfilling a purpose.
If you want to keep your people, especially your stars, it’s time to pay more attention to how you design their work.
Most companies design jobs and then slot people into them. If you flip this on its head, when you find talented people, why not create jobs around their talents? As long as the job/role benefits the business then you have a win-win.
Anecdotally, through our coaching community who work directly with SMEs, we know that the top three staff motivators are to:
- Learn and grow personally
- Feel like they can make an impact
- Achieve good work-life balance
We’re also aware that there is an appalling expectations gap between management and employees. This gap often stems from a perfect storm of miscommunication and mismanaged employer expectations. The result: both employee and employer suffer the consequences of a lack of employee engagement, reduced productivity and even worse, increased employee turnover.
So what do you need to do to retain talented people?
Invest in employee engagement. Managers need to support employees to do work they enjoy. Indeed talented managers build unique development strategies around their employees’ individual, innate talents, and make sure they are always in roles where they get to use their strengths every day.
Too often, managers don’t know enough about what work people enjoy. This spills out in exit interviews – which should be a standard practice in every HR department as they give insights into why talented people are leaving and what would have convinced them to stay.
But why must we wait until they’re on their way out the door to find out how we could retain them? Instead, we could design entry interviews. Completing a behavioural based interview as part of the hiring process (such as Compass) will arm a manager with this information from the outset. However, as behaviours can and do change depending on circumstances, to keep on top of this they should ideally be retaken every 12 months or when teams or roles are changed.
Integrating behavioural indicators as part of onboarding new hires will mean managers can find out about how they will be able to utilise candidates talents in a new role and where they could see their talents being utilised more effectively. Ultimately armed with that knowledge, managers can construct more appealing roles and responsibilities from the start.
People leave jobs, and it’s up to managers to design jobs that are too good to leave. Great bosses are barriers or shields, they protect their employees. They must also open doors to meaningful tasks and learning opportunities. They enable their people to be energised by their projects, to perform at their best, and to move forward professionally without having to step backwards at home.
When you have a manager who cares about your happiness and your success, your career and your life, you end up with a better job, and then it becomes hard to imagine working anywhere else.