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3 Ways To Keep Your Top Performers From Leaving

When a valuable employee leaves your organization, it’s painful! You’re likely to think, “how can he/she leave, after all we’ve been through? After all the training and development, we’ve given him/her!” You may feel anger from the thought of betrayal; you may feel guilt, asking yourself what else could you have done differently; you may even feel regret, towards spending all the money and countless efforts to develop this person only to see all your efforts lost. On top of it all, the amount of work left must be done by others, adding more stress to the entire team, including yourself having to delegate most of it.


Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon experience by managers and executives in most companies. Many employers are losing or about to lose their top performers. Studies have shown that losing an employee can costs the organization up to two to three times their salary, depending on the type of position. Besides the obvious problems such as lower employee morale, hiring efforts, and training costs, the loss of tacit knowledge is irreplaceable. All these problems are caused by an old management principle that’s still applied in many organizations – external motivation (money). This management principle assumes that human beings are very simplistic creatures, reacting with a consistent visible behaviour based on a stimulus which is money. In reality, people may be motivated by money, but they are more inspired by many humanistic factors that create loyalty. When you provide people primarily with financial rewards, you’re only training them to be loyal to money. It’s no wonder they’ll leave if the money is right. What if there are other ways to create loyal employees?


Having designed many inspirational systems in organizations across the world, three specific ways are proven strategies that achieve tremendous loyalty from innovative and hardworking employees.

  1. Understanding employees’ core values: when you take the time to create an inventory of employee values, you’ll obtain a much further understanding of who they are. Core values like family, respect, integrity and growth can create a much stronger bond between your employees.  Start by asking employees to list their top 5 values and see how they are aligned.
  2. Developing an employee growth process that creates meaningful achievement: this strategy transforms the problematic performance review process into a completely new dimension of learning. Based on the common foundation of humanity that everyone desires to grow and see some form of achievement that’s meaningful to them, develop a frequent learning process that aligns with the passions of the individual employee. This is far beyond prescribing a generic training session from time to time and call it training. A continuous development process aligns with the core values of the employee; furthermore, co-create some goals that are meaningful to the employee and the organization. Having meaningful achievements and a path to get there develops an extraordinary bond of respect.
  3. Enhancing the emotional intelligence of your management team: this strategy calls for the key managers who interact with your employees to consistently act with high level of emotional intelligence. For example, managers each week proactively finds 2 problems from their employees and leading the employees to create solutions. Such consistent behaviours show employees a high level of empathy and care while also intellectually stimulating them to feel positive about their solutions.


Each of these strategies build on top of one-another. They are relatively very inexpensive to create but takes significant strategic thought that goes well beyond conventional wisdom. At the end of the day, when you create these processes, you’ll achieve incredible employee loyalty as well as a highly innovative organizational culture.

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