ARTICLE: Align with Your Star Employees
Updated: May 1
Reflect on your career and write down your five biggest leadership disappointments.
According to an article by Susan Cramm on strategy+business, if your experience is typical, your list will include suddenly losing top-quality talent—and it may have felt personal. That talent left not only the organization; they left you—despite time spent together making plans, overcoming adversity, and celebrating accomplishments. Your best efforts as a leader weren’t good enough, and to cope, you rationalized that people are responsible for their own career. But losing high performers is painful, both personally and professionally.
High potentials have plenty of options to think and act in their own best interests, along with the confidence to do so. In a Corporate Executive Board (CEB) study, as many as 25 percent of high-potential employees plan on leaving their jobs within a year. Why? Here are some reasons others gave for NOT leaving:
They feel connected: “I like the people here. They’re my friends, a team, like family. I might make more money if I left, but I don’t want to leave the people here.”
They feel challenged: “I’m finding meaning and happiness now. The work is exciting, and I love what I’m doing.”
They feel developed: “I can follow my dreams. This organization is giving me the chance to grow and do what I really want to do in life.”
When these conditions do not exist, high performers head for the exits.
Leaders who excel at retaining top talent truly care about the people delivering the performance. These leaders invest time to help their most valuable contributors understand their capabilities and career goals, improve their performance, and get the necessary sponsorship and support. They consider talent development one of the most important—and satisfying—parts of their job, and they invest their time accordingly.
As a development-oriented leader, you should care about all of your employees, but invest disproportionately in your high potentials because they deliver more value today and will deliver even more tomorrow (people designated as high potentials are three times more likely to succeed as future leaders than the average employee, according to the CEB research). Leaders need to make sure they are:
Identifying Top Talent
Understanding Their Goals
Determining Their Capabilities
Crafting the Right Challenges
Rewarding High Potentials
Tracking Their Progress
It’s hard to overstate the importance of staying in close contact with high potentials. Make it hard for them to leave you by making sure you don’t leave them. Read the full article here.