Every heart skips a beat when top talent decides to leave. Research states that the financial impact of losing key talent can go as high as 250 percent of an employee’s annual salary. However, if you’ve been in the industry long enough, you know that replacing top talent is expensive in ways that go beyond money. Putting a dollar value to that heartbreak is practically impossible. It is no wonder that HR professionals spend countless sleepless nights analyzing why people leave and wondering how to retain top talent. Well, I am here to help solve that very problem for you!
Contrary to what many of us would like to believe, the solution is almost never more money, stocks or better work life balance. If you’ve heard about the two-factor theory, then you know that these are but hygiene factors. Pay your talent enough to take the conversation around money off the table and provide a fair work-life balance, but beyond that, these factors have limited control over people leaving. What is it then that your top talent is really looking for?
Herzberg was right back in the 1960’s and over 50 years later, his theory still makes sense. As varied as individual asks might be, what motivates top talent typically fall into three buckets - recognition, achievement, and personal growth. While recognition and achievement can be tackled via continuous feedback, evolved performance management mechanisms and a sense of ownership, organizations struggle most in understanding and fulfilling the need for ‘personal growth.'
It is high time that organizations throw out their traditional approach to learning and evolve at the pace that their talent needs them to. What worked in the past is definitely not going to work now; for if there is one thing that has definitely evolved, it is the way people learn. 47% of modern learners learn on evenings or weekends, 42% from their desk and 27% on the way to and from work. In-person classroom style training, traditional eLearning’s are no longer as effective as they used to be. Real time, all the time is the new mantra for learning. Gamification, social learning, and mobile learning are the current industry buzz words. Unless organizations jump onto the bandwagon and adopt these techniques, they will continue to bleed top talent.
Glassdoor data reveals that among Millennials, the “ability to learn and progress” is now the principal driver of a company’s employment brand. This year, careers and learning rose to second place in rated importance, with 83 percent of executives identifying these issues as important or very important. It is clear that ‘personal growth’ is no longer a factor that can be ignored.
It is also essential to supplement personal growth by offering challenging work that enables them to implement what they’ve learnt. According to the Right Management survey, the top reason respondents said they left their job was to seek new challenges or opportunities that were lacking with their previous employer. Let your employees experiment, give them a free rein and watch the magic happen. If you do not, you might lose them to an organization that does.
Ultimately it all boils down to this – the motivation factors haven’t changed over time but how the factors are delivered have. It is important to maintain an ongoing conversation with your employees to know what’s working and what isn’t. Once you do so, I can guarantee that your top talent will struggle to find reasons to leave.