High performance environments are stressful workplaces, to say the least. When results are king, mediocrity is disdained and failure intolerable. Some employees burn out in the struggle to consistently meet the high expectations typical of these environments. Meanwhile, the individuals who thrive in these environments have intense ambition–and are always on the lookout for greener pastures.
How, then, can high-performing employers reduce turnover, and better retain employees?
The problem may be in the reactive approach companies take when addressing retention. Why not address retention proactively, as a strategic issue? As I see it, there are three things any organization can do to proactively combat turnover.
1. Hire Retainable Employees
The pressure’s on from day one in a high performance environment. While some thrive under pressure, others will falter. By only hiring people who are likely to excel in your organization, you can reduce the chances of this type of casualty.
Work with your managers and top performers to identify what backgrounds, skills or personality characteristics your retainable employees have in common. Then, use this insight to guide your sourcing and screening.
2. Don’t Just Fill Roles – Plan Careers
It’s easy to focus on the near-term when managing people in a high performance environment. You bring in “A Players” with the expectation that they’ll succeed in the role for which you’ve hired them–and unrealistically assume they will stay in that role forever. You need to think bigger.
Career-pathing doesn’t have to be a formal program. The key is to guide your employees in mapping out how they can attain their career goals within your company. Even a rough or incomplete plan is better than no plan at all. Simply having conversations around an employee’s goals shows you care about the employee’s future, which in turn breeds loyalty.
3. Make Retention Personal
Every employee is motivated by different things, and retention strategies thus need to be tailored down to the individual level. Successful organizations don’t view retention initiatives as “one size fits all.” Instead, they’re making retention strategies personal. How? By simply asking, “What motivates you?”
You may be surprised to find that monetary incentives are low on the list of responses you get. These days, “A Players” are more concerned with challenging work, personal and professional growth opportunities, work/life balance, and workplace flexibility.
If money’s the only thing you’re offering employees, don’t be surprised if they look elsewhere for what really matters to them.
What retention strategies have you seen work in a high performance environment? Leave a comment, and join the conversation.