In Leadership Competencies
Employee Retention Pitfalls

Employee Retention Pitfalls

In my previous blog, I discussed why retaining your Most Valuable People (MVPs) is essential to your business’s success. Now, as much as I’d like to jump right into how to find your MVPs and tailor your employee retention programs for maximum effectiveness, I’m not. Trust me, I’ll cover those topics in upcoming blogs. I feel it’s important to first explore why many employee retention programs fall short.

No matter how much time and effort you spend fine-tuning your retention programs, you’ll never achieve 100% effectiveness. Therefore, I believe it’s very important to have knowledge of issues that mitigate their effects. And although the following reasons may not be reflective of your business, I do believe they give a good overview of potential problem areas.

Common Pitfalls of Retention Programs (Part 1)

Assuming Your MVPS are Engaged

Odds are that your MVPs have received much positive feedback. Great! It’s important to acknowledge and show recognition and appreciation. On the other hand, you’re giving them a confidence boost that can work against you. Now that the employee knows they’re valuable, and perhaps has the documentation and awards to prove it, there’s little reason for them to put up with things they disagree with. In short, they’re less likely to weather storms and try to find solutions. Any issues they may have with the organization, leadership, or peers, now become reasons for them to seek opportunities elsewhere.

Furthermore, involvement in certain retention programs can cause the MVP to raise their expectations of the company and their own career path. If the company is unable to fulfill those expectations, they’re likely to look for better opportunities. The risk is even greater if the company experiences an unexpected downturn in business that limits opportunities to work on special projects or receive promised pay increases.

Assuming Current Performance Ensures Future Capability

This touches on some aspects I mentioned previously. Not all individuals identified as “high performers” are able to adequately adjust to the demands of much bigger roles, no matter how much they’re “trained”. Therefore, it’s critically important to define the characteristics you’re looking for in your MVPs. Additionally, not all MVPs will have high levels of aspiration. Placing individuals in a role they never really wanted can be disastrous for productivity, engagement, and can have “knock-on” effects throughout the whole organization.

Delegating the Most Valuable People Development Downward

Businesses often consider this practice an effective and economical way to drive people development. The truth is that even if it is economical, it isn’t always the best idea. Yes, direct managers should know their people and their gifts. Alternatively, giving managers and individual business units this sole responsibility can greatly decrease the scope of the MVP’s development. You may never find out that your MVP in the Finance department has huge potential elsewhere in the company. Additionally, you run the risk of managers keeping MVPs around for their own benefit. Not sharing or communicating their potential talent across the business is certainly not what’s best for the greater good of the business or the employee’s long-term happiness or success.

In part 2 of this blog series, I’ll discuss the final 3 common pitfalls experienced by businesses’ talent retention programs.

If you’d like help to develop a way to minimize these risks in your retention program, contact me.

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