20 November 2023

Three reasons why your best talents won’t stay

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High-performing workers

High-performing workers who aren’t recognised are most likely to quit. Photo: File.

Roberta Matuson says hiring top-quality employees is just the beginning of a journey. Making sure they stay with you can be much more challenging.

It’s the quitting trend that just won’t quit. High-performing employees are packing up their desks and taking their talents elsewhere.

Before you place the blame on those ungrateful employees, consider the following.

Everyone wants superstars, yet not everyone is prepared to do what it takes to keep them.

Think about the superstars you’ve hired who have since departed. Why did they leave?

Here are some of the most common reasons superstars flee.

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The supporting team is weak: Maybe you stretched yourself and hired someone who cost more than you expected.

To make up for this, you decided to skimp on the salaries you were willing to pay those supporting this person.

As a result, you had fewer people to choose from and wound up hiring the best of the talent pool that was available to you. These people were okay, but they weren’t great.

You told the superstars they’d be working with a fine-tuned team. Perhaps that was a bit of an exaggeration.

It didn’t take them long to figure out that you sold them a pup. They’re doing all the heavy lifting, which is exhausting, while everyone else rides on their coattails.

They don’t feel challenged: You told your superstars they’d be working on all sorts of exciting projects. Maybe you even said they’d have a direct line to the chief executive.

It turns out this is not the case. Every day is like the next.

Superstars thrive when challenged and tire when work is rote. When they feel the work is beneath their skill level or have too much time on their hands, they begin to question why they’re in a particular job.

A call from a head-hunter at just the right moment results in an offer they can’t refuse.

Their boss doesn’t know how to manage them: It requires a lot of work to manage a superstar.

You simply can’t hire them and forget they’re there. You have to provide them with opportunities to work on exciting projects and support their growth.

Otherwise, they’ll find someone else who will.

Maybe the boss is treating them equally, which would be fine if everyone else contributed at the same level they are.

Superstars are usually the least likely to put up with this kind of arrangement — they work hard and want to be recognised for their above-and-beyond performance, not treated equally to someone who is hardly trying.

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So, as you think about the superstars still in your employ, consider taking on the following homework assignment.

Check in with your superstars and ask them these three questions:

What were you hoping to achieve when you took this position with our organisation?

Are you still on track to achieve this?

What do you need from me to help you continue to grow and feel challenged?

Then, take action that will ensure you retain your high performers.

*Roberta Matuson is president of Matuson Consulting, which helps Fortune 500 companies and high-growth businesses create exceptional workplaces leading to extraordinary results. She can be contacted at [email protected].

This article first appeared on Roberta’s blogsite.

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