As mentioned in my previous BLOG, retaining top talent is critically important to your business. On average, Most Valuable People (MVP) are very productive and highly motivated. And that gap increases as the complexity of the work increases. Your MVPs are the ones who will find new revenue streams, cut costs, have innovative solutions that can contribute to the future success of the company.
Creation of an effective retention program is a great way to keep your MVPs on board. However, finding your MVPs and maintaining the program can be challenging. Familiarizing yourself with the common pitfalls of retention programs will help increase your chances of success.
Protecting MVPs From Failure
Now, admittedly, this is a legitimate concern. After spending the time to identify top talent, getting them in your program, investing in training or coaching them, the last thing you want is to see them fail. If you shield them from experiencing difficult and stressful situations, you’re doing your company a disservice. Without this exposure, you won’t be able to gauge their ability and they won’t have the chance to develop leadership skills. It’s also possible that down the road, you’ll have many poorly equipped middle and senior-level managers and leaders. Placing MVPs in precarious learning situations to test them can be tough but it’s necessary to ensure future success. Moreover, with proper support, you can minimize these risks from failure.
Expecting They’ll Accept Across the Board Measures
If your company ever experiences difficulties (fiscal or otherwise), think twice about creating “across the board” policies and directives. Although well-intentioned, these egalitarian maneuvers will impact attrition of top talent. You’ve identified your MVPs for a reason. By default, in their day-to-day work routine, they contribute up to 20% more than their peers, according to HBR. Moreover, during tough times that result in organizational restructuring or downsizing, their contributions are even more valuable. Denying them merit-based compensation or performance based bonuses can result in them seeking employment elsewhere.
In your efforts to preserve merit-based recognition and compensation, be careful not to create distinct favoritism. Doing so can be disastrous for employee morale and productivity. Especially during hard times. Money isn’t the only way to let people know they’re valued. Use the situation to your advantage- it’s actually a great time to get to know your top talent deeper and find out what motivates them.
Keeping them in the Dark
Low to no communication results in low employee engagement. The first pitfall I mentioned in Part-1 was low engagement. It’s such an important factor that I must bring it up again- although in a different context. MVPs who are established in intense career development, i.e. retention programs have high levels of engagement. They’re happy with their career, have grown with the company, and are confident in leadership’s ability to execute the corporate strategy.
If leadership stops communicating with MVPs due to economic uncertainty or otherwise, there is a high risk of disengagement. Simply put, don’t stop communicating with your MVPs, especially those who’ve advanced to high levels of your development program. As integral parts of the company’s future, they are valuable assets to participate in strategic discussions or even help create new strategies for your business.
If you’d like help to develop your employee retention strategy, contact me.