High Performing Employee Retention Pitfalls - Part II

This is Part 2 of a 2-part blog series. For Part 1, click here

Retaining top talent is critically important to your business. On average, high performers are very productive and highly motivated. That performance gap increases as the complexity of the work increases. They are the ones who will find new revenue streams, cut costs, have innovative solutions that can contribute to the future success of the company. However, remember not to let productivity overshadow other characteristics such as creative problem-solving, and emotional intelligence.

Creation of an effective retention program is a great way to keep your high performers on board. However, finding this talented  and maintaining the program can be challenging. Familiarizing yourself with the common pitfalls of retention programs will help increase your chances of success.


Common Pitfalls of Retention Programs (Part 2)


Protecting MVPs From Failure

Now, admittedly, this is a legitimate concern. After spending the time to identify top talent, get them in your program, teach, and mentor them, you don’t want to see them fail or leave. 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 vital skills. It's also possible that down the road, you’ll have many poorly equipped middle and senior-level managers and leaders with low emotional intelligence and leadership skills. Placing your top talent in precarious situations can be tough but is necessary to ensure future success. Moreover, with proper support, you can minimize the risks from failure.


Expecting They’ll Accept Across the Board Measures

If your company ever experiences difficulties (like during this pandemic), 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 high potentials for a reason. By default, in their day-to-day work routine, they contribute up to 20% more, according to HBR. Moreover, during tough times resulting in organizational restructuring, or downsizing, their contributions are even more valuable. Denying them merit-based compensation or bonuses can cause them to seek employment elsewhere.

In your efforts to preserve merit-based recognition and compensation, be careful not to create distinct favoritism. Doing this can be disastrous for employee morale and productivity. Especially during a downturn in your business. 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 engagement. The first pitfall I mentioned in Part-1 was low engagement. It’s such an important factor that I want to bring it up again- although in a different context. MVPs who are involved 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 were to stop communicating with high performers due to economic uncertainty or otherwise, there is a high risk of disengagement. Simply put, don't stop communicating with your top contributors, 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 and even help create new strategies for your business. 


If you’d like help to develop your employee retention strategy, contact me.