With the job market heating up and the unemployment rate at a new low, there are millions of jobs waiting for the right people to fill them. This is great news for employees, but how can management retain top talent and keep high performers from jumping ship?
Karl Alleman, managing partner of Egon Zehnder’s U.S. practice, explains how many companies are unwittingly falling short and giving an advantage to their competition. “They need to do a better job of recognizing who their top talents are and then telling them that they’re top talents,” says Alleman. Companies will often identify the people who have the ability to grow and thrive—but then, he says, bosses “don’t do a good job of communicating to that individual that they see such potential and that they have a plan to help them fully realize it.”
Alleman recommends giving praise where praise is due, rather than worrying about whether it will be construed as favoritism or contribute to high expectations. “If you have somebody who really is that good, you ought to let them know,” Alleman says. “Because if they don’t know that, they might not feel valued, and they might leave.” Alleman also advises companies to lay out career paths that will foster growth and learning for their employees.
“If you can paint a picture for them on how you’re going to help them fully realize their potential by moving them through different jobs—jobs in different geographies, or in different business units, or maybe even in different functions—to help round out their skills, that is really valuable,” he says.
Another important tactic for leadership to consider is motivating employees by sparking their curiosity with a challenging project. “If there’s one character trait that people truly need, it’s curiosity: the desire to look around corners, to think about what the competition might be doing differently or what the customer might want.”