The Challenge of Attracting and Retaining Top Talent
“Those who build great companies understand that the ultimate throttle on growth for any great company is not markets, or technology, or competition, or products. It is the one thing above all others – the ability to get and keep enough of the right people.” ~ Jim Collins
Why do most people leave the team, department, or the organization? There are many reasons people leave, but the primary reason is related to the relationship with their boss. People tend to stay or leave because of how their boss makes them feel. Do they feel like they matter? Do they feel valued?
I’m sure you can validate this for yourself. When you’ve left a job, a department, or a company, was the most common reason because of the relationship between you and your boss? Or, when your friends and family have left jobs, did you hear a lot of discussion around their relationship with their boss?
There’s something actually worse and more common than having a team member leave. That’s having them quit emotionally but stay physically. When they quit but stay, it’s the leader’s responsibility to remove them from the team as quickly as possible because they will only contaminate the team and cause problems. While they’re on the team, your leadership will be questioned, and you will lose trust with the other team members, especially the top performers. To retain the best, remove the worst.
When you keep low performing, problem causing team members on the team you risk losing your top performers. Since they are top performers, they usually have options. Other departments will want them, and other companies will want them. The question you must ask yourself is, “How bad do I want to keep them?”
I’ve seen a lot of high performers leave a team when they didn’t really want to leave. I’ve also been one of them. I’ve had others who decided to leave talk to me about it in advance. I’ve seen them struggle with staying or leaving. But, they become very miserable and unhappy working alongside people who decided to quit but stay. They are most upset by their leader’s willingness to allow the low performers to contaminate the team.
Managers of people will not make the tough decisions that will best serve the team. Instead of removing the slackers, they allow them to stay which hurts the performance of the entire team. The reason managers don’t remove them is because of the burden it will cause them personally. They will have to go through the hiring and training process and often must fill in on the job until they find a replacement. Most managers choose the easy way out and keep the low performer.
However, a high impact leader realizes the damage being done. They will act quickly. They can’t get the slacker out of the way fast enough. They don’t mind filling in if necessary and embrace the opportunity to find a new team member with a better fit for the team. As a result, the team’s morale is lifted and respect for their leader increases. The team rewards the leader’s decision by working hard to help cover for the missing team member because they appreciate the leader’s willingness to do the right thing. When this happens, the top performers are usually leading the charge.
One of the best ways to retain top performers is to work very intentionally to build a high performance team. I’ve already shared many of the principles you’ll need to apply in order to do so. When people are attracted to the leader and the team, there is a greater chance of retaining them. Creating a team that works well together, values each other, supports the leader, and the organization isn’t an easy task, but it’s necessary to attract and retain top performers.
A low performing leader can’t build a high performance team. The lower your level of leadership, the lower your team’s performance. In order to attract and retain top performers, you must be a top performer yourself. In other words, you must be a high impact leader.
As you become a better leader, you will begin to attract and retain better followers and increase your odds of keeping those you do attract. However, as a high impact leader, you will find yourself happy to grow and develop leaders that will either take your position as you move on or fill other positions as they become available in other areas. And when they do, you’ll be proud you played a small role in helping them get to the next level. Hopefully, you can keep them in the company.
I remember a young supervisor in a welding department who really bought into my onsite leadership development classes. He was a star from the beginning. He wanted to move up in the company. He followed my advice and worked to build his team. He approached it in two ways.
First, he focused on helping everyone improve. Second, he intentionally helped those who wanted to move up in the company do so. He was their biggest cheerleader. He became known for growing and developing leaders. He would grow and develop his team members, then help them fill jobs in other areas. Those who stayed with him wanted to stay with him and loved what they were doing.
When a leadership position above him opened up, he was selected. He also already had his replacement trained and ready to fill his spot instantly. Many of the leaders he had helped grow and develop, now reported to him once again in his new role. You can imagine the support and loyalty he had from those he had helped move forward. They already knew his heart and wanted to help him succeed.
When a high impact leader is leading a team, everyone wins.
“It is the future that pulls rather than the past that pushes.” ~ Peter Koestenbaum
What our clients are saying…
“My first words are, GET SIGNED UP! This training is not, and I stress, not your everyday leadership seminar! I have never been apart of anything like it. After 30 years in technology and two years in Concrete Construction, I have attended dozens and sent hundreds to the so-called ‘Leadership-Training.’ I can tell you that while all of the courses, classes, webinars, and seminars, had good intentions, nothing can touch what Mack and Ria Story provide. I just wish I had it 20 years ago…I could go on-and-on. We had 98% in attendance and 100% of the team that attended said that they were ‘blown-away, they did not see their conviction and passion coming.’ Many thanks, Mack and Ria!” ~ Sam McLamb, COO/VP CMP Pumping, Inc.