As a manager or executive, keeping your top talent in your organization and away from competitors probably ranks pretty high on your list. After all, no company wants to lose skilled employees they’ve worked hard to obtain. Essential workers who are integral to your business processes are hard to replace, and losing one can be a significant setback to your company.
While nothing can stop an employee from leaving once they decide to go, there are a few ways you can reduce the chances and keep your top-tier talent where they belong: with your organization.
Non-compete agreements are tools that will make an employee think twice before they leave your organization. Typically, they prevent workers from joining a competitor company for several years after they quit. Employees who violate the non-compete may face legal consequences, and the hiring employer will, too.
While non-competes have advantages for organizations, not every employee will be happy to sign them. Feeling like a company “owns” your ability to progress in your career isn’t something most employees approve of. Additionally, the FTC recently proposed a new law that may ban using non-competes in the future. If it passes, employers must look to other strategies to prevent employee poaching.
There are ways to get around non-compete agreements that make them less effective. For instance:
Most job searches aren’t as discreet as employees might hope. Once an employee decides to look for another role (or a recruiter reaches out to tell them of one), savvy managers will notice:
Sometimes, the desire to leave the organization comes after a specific event. For instance, if they were recently denied a promotion or didn’t receive ownership of a major project, that may cause them to think twice about their prospects within the organization.
Annual reviews are another factor that can impact an employee’s feelings about staying with their organization. If they don’t feel the review truly reflects their contributions to the workplace, they may begin to feel undervalued.
If you see the signs that an employee may be looking for another opportunity, it’s essential to sit down and have a discussion, especially if you want to retain them. Find out what’s going on, and see if you can do anything to keep them with your organization.
It’s important to keep the conversation straightforward and fair. Let them know you’d rather not see them go, and ask what’s driving their decision to leave. Are they looking for more responsibility or more opportunities for advancement? Do they feel overworked? Are there tasks they’re working on that they don’t enjoy?
Once you understand their reasons for seeking other employment opportunities, you’re better positioned to address them. However, if the team member is miserable, no amount of bargaining will keep them on board. You’re better off letting them go than convincing them to stay.
Sometimes, when an employee accepts another job, employers try to keep them on board by offering more money or better benefits. That’s not always the right decision, especially if the difference in pay is negligible. Most people won’t quit their job for a 5% raise — if they do, there’s more going on under the surface, and you may not be able to fix it.
Seeing an employee leave for greener pastures can inspire others to make the same leap, especially if they’re competent and will prove valuable to other organizations. That is generally because:
Those shifts in your team can be startling and unwelcome, but you can take action to address and counteract them in a positive way that reflects well on both you and the company. Specifically, you can:
Sometimes, offering the team unique benefits like half-day Fridays or additional work-from-home opportunities is enough to keep them from searching for a new job themselves.
Every organization has a few solid employees that genuinely drive business processes. Those are the individuals you really can’t afford to lose. Pay close attention to them, and ensure they feel they’re an integral part of your company. People who feel valued and at home in their organization are less likely to leave.
Some managers find that having occasional discussions with top-performing workers helps them understand what they like about the company and what they need to keep them there. Asking how they feel about the workplace, where they think improvements can be made, and how they deal with frustrations can help managers understand what motivates the employee to stay.
The knowledge a manager gains from these talks can help them design a retention plan to keep top performers on board. For instance, if the employee is interested in a director or other leadership role, providing them with the training they need to be successful is advantageous.
While there are various tools you can use to stop workers from leaving, like non-compete agreements, they’re not always successful. The best way to keep employees from going is by providing them with an environment they don’t want to leave.
Start with providing top performers with adequate compensation and benefits. Offer them a clear career path, so they know they won’t stay in the same role forever. With a work environment they enjoy, your employees won’t be so quick to look for other opportunities.
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