February is commemorated with chocolates, cards, and flowers… all of the key indicators that love is in the air. People appreciate being recognized and feeling appreciated. How can we embody this spirit of appreciation in the workplace? Here’s something to consider.

Talented employees often get top treatment when joining a new organization or accepting a promotion. It’s much like being in a new relationship. The work is fresh and exciting. Employees are enticed with the promise of new opportunities and broadening horizons. But what happens when the dust settles, time passes, and the days become routine and work-as-usual?

Talented employees tend to feel neglected, recognition and personalized attention wane, and they inevitably begin to feel bored or even unappreciated.

This is a dangerous trend for organizations. Why? Because in an employee market, attracting high performing employees is competitive, yet retaining talent that may look for greener pastures is even harder. There is meaningful evidence that suggests employees today change jobs more frequently. Top talent doesn’t have to go looking for opportunities, opportunities come to them.

You’ve likely heard the expression, “People leave managers, not organizations.” While perhaps a bit cliché, the data is conclusive; it is absolutely true. Equipping front-line managers with the right tools to improve the manager-employee relationship is a critical piece of your overall talent retention strategy. Today’s competitive talent market requires organizational leaders to master relationship management and employ proactive retention strategies that engage and energize critical talent.

If you are a business leader, try using the following questions to guide your thinking about purposeful retention:

  • Are there managers who have a higher rate of turnover?
  • What are you doing to enhance management skills related to delivering effective feedback based on two-way communication and mutual trust?
  • Are you helping your managers assess potential retention risks?
  • Are managers equipped to seek support when conducting a candid conversation to “re-recruit their talent” and/or “making a save” when an employee is at risk for leaving?
  • Are managers receiving training related to unconscious gender bias that could inhibit their ability to think fairly about team member performance or promotion readiness?

As companies face higher turnover rates, there is an opportunity to equip mangers with the skillset to re-recruit their talent and participate in ongoing retention work. Successful organizations support ongoing manager development in this area as a facet of a larger talent retention strategy.

WLH Consulting, Inc. can provide services to help with the retention of high-level employees and create a plan that addresses organizational, manager, and employee relationships, as well as other individual factors within your organization.

Please contact us for more information on our Rx for Retention™ solutions and how our consulting services can help your organization establish a clear retention strategy.

Wendy L. Heckelman, Ph.D.

Dr. Wendy Heckelman, president and founder of WLH Consulting, Inc. has over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 100 industry clients. These include pharmaceutical, biotech, health care, animal health medicines, and consumer products, as well as international non-profit organizations and growing entrepreneurial companies.

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