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Wise moves for retaining top talent

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in Leaders & Managers

Many managers are too busy “doing their jobs” to worry about keeping their best people. Well, they should worry.

One can retain talent in dozens of ways. Here are three of the smartest:
  1. Conduct a “stay” interview. It’s much less painful than an exit interview. Ask:

    • “Are you engaged and challenged every day?”

    • “What would pique your interest?”

    • “What could I do more or less of?”

    • “What will keep you here?”

    • “What might drive you away?”

    • “What do you want to learn this year?”

  2. Can’t deliver on their answers? Be honest, explain the obstacles and try to work around them.

    Then, ask “What else?” You’ll likely learn the one factor that matters most but that they were holding back.

  3. Give them room to roam. Top employees usually want elbow room. Provide flexibility to meet goals and complete the job on their terms.

  4. Open doors. Spend some time finding out what they’d like to do next. Head a new project? Work directly with customers? Try another function?

    Sometimes, your best people will want to move to a different division or another organization or field. You might even stumble across an opportunity that seems perfect for them … at your own expense.

    Pass it along. It might hurt you to do it, but your willingness to let them fly away for the sake of their careers will earn you their undying loyalty. It may even keep them with you, or bring them back in the future.
—Adapted from “How to retain your best people,” Sharon Jordan-Evans, www.cpoagenda.com.

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