Tip #16: Retaining Winning Talent

March 4, 2009 -- Sal Silvester

How can you help retain winning talent?
• Help your leaders understand that retaining people is not an "HR" problem, but a leadership problem. In most cases, people leave their managers, not their organizations.
• Understand that the cost of attrition can be staggering. Much of the time it goes unseen. Some factors are obvious (like productivity losses). However, there are often unseen costs, like reduced productivity during the 3-6 months when the departing team member was inevitably distracted during his/her job search.
• Understand why team members are leaving. Most organizations do not have a handle on this, and they fail to differentiate between the reasons team members stay and the reasons why team members leave.
• The team leaders role in attrition is paramount but underplayed. Most team leaders blame external factors as causes for attrition, failing to take any personal responsibility. Research has shown that departing team members often leave for reasons that are actually within the control of their leaders. Understand what those factors are, and identify how to assess retention risk and create a retention action plan for each of your key team members.

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