Stop Your Top Talent Before They Walk Out The Door

Happy New Year!

At this time of year, many people are talking resolutions. Finding a new job is often at the top of the list.

Won't you be disappointed when one of your top employees walks in to tell you she's leaving to go to a competitor? Few things are as costly and disruptive as good people walking out the door.

Help yourself, your team and your organization by creating a winning culture that sets the stage to attain and retain top talent.


The best way to build a strong team and keep great employees over the long term is to ensure you hire the right ones. An organization with a winning culture understands the importance of hiring slow and firing fast. The “right employees” are the most important resource your organization has.

Interviews must focus equally on culture and skills match. This weeds out those candidates who are not a good fit for the organization. You can always learn a skill, but its almost impossible to change someone's personality.


Onboarding is so VITAL! I'm truly amazed how frequently leaders actually ignore this opportunity to share the importance of the values of your organization. Too often employees show up on day one of a new job and no one is there to provide a proper introduction, guide them through policies, procedures (formal and informal) and give them an overview of the business.

If you show up on your first day and it seems like no one knew you were coming, RUN! If they don't value you now, its only an indication of what is to follow.

Zappos, the online retailer, has a great onboarding program. After an extremely rigorous interview process, where they focus equally on culture and skills match, (only 1.5% of applicants are hired) new hires go for a 4 WEEK onboarding experience, focusing on truly understanding the values and culture of the organization. After completing the onboarding, they are offered $2000 to quit if they feel that they are NOT a good culture fit for Zappos.

Zappos' leadership understands the importance (and cost) of losing great employees. The cost can be anywhere from 30%-400% of annual salary, based on the level of the employee.


No one joins an organization and wants to remain in that same role for the next 50 years. As humans, we all look to grow and develop our knowledge, skills and experience.

Make professional development a priority. The more, and better, skills your employees have, the better positioned your company is to succeed. Set up a program where your employees are partnered with a mentor or coach and create a professional development plan to enhance their functional as well as leadership/management skills. Conversations around performance and development should happen regularly, not once a year by ticking boxes in a performance management system.

I am always disappointed to hear from leaders that they don't send employees for training as they are fearful that upon completion the employees will leave. If you're truly afraid your employees will leave, you're probably right. You know you have NOT created a winning culture. Good employees will always leave if their needs are not being met. If you create an environment that your employees find engaging, they will stay and help you grow your business.


Don't overwork your employees. Burnout isn't helpful to anyone. A study done at Stanford University examined the relationship between hours worked and productivity. It found that employee output falls sharply after a 50-hour work-week, and completely falls off after 55 hours, actually becoming detrimental to the employee's health and safety. Longer hours have also been connected to absenteeism and employee turnover.


Make sure your employees feel valued. This is so basic, yet so often forgotten. This includes providing regular feedback (positive and constructive) both best served immediately.  It's easy to underestimate the power of a pat on the back, especially with top performers who are intrinsically motivated. However, its truly vital to do so.

A recent survey by the Workforce Institute by Kronos asked asked workers in the US how appreciated they felt at work and which employer practices made them feel appreciated. 55% responded that receiving a “Thank you” from their direct manager is important to them. Also, almost 50% cited that they do not feel appreciated and are not being recognized for the work they do. These are the employees that have one foot out the door.

Get to know your team's individual motivations and reward them for a job well done.


Too often managers have good intentions to support their employees, but often don't have the authority to make things happen. Honesty and authenticity are what feed TRUST, the most important value in any relationship. If you make promises, keep them. If you can't fulfill a promise to your team, then don't make it. Over time, the erosion of trust is what decreases employee engagement and again is a significant reason for turnover.


Too many rules are stifling! Creativity, innovation, and passion can only exist in an environment that is open and non-judgmental. Encourage your employees to take (calculated) risks and feel comfortable with the potential of failure. If you don't fail (well), you're not trying anything new and your business is not going to grow. Change and innovation is paramount for success in today's competitive landscape. Be open!


Poor leadership is easy to spot the second you walk into an organization. When the executive leadership team does not have the leadership skills to steer the organization forward, the energy is low and employees are not excited and passionate about supporting their customers. Often there is infighting, inefficiencies, resistance to change and a general malaise. There tends to be high turnover, frequent changes to “strategic priorities” and a lack of communication. These are all things that frustrate employees.

Make sure your leaders and managers at all levels have the skills and tools to help the company succeed. No one is born with 360° leadership skills and they don't come through osmosis either! Take the time to understand your team's needs and get them the training to grow and develop. Its a win-win for all!

Remember, over 90% of the time, people don't leave jobs, they leave bad managers. So set your organization up for success by creating a winning culture that support your team to excel.

Everyone deserves Happiness at Work.  Let Ignite help you get there.