4 Ways to Fix What Went Wrong When You Lose Top Talent

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4 Ways to Fix What Went Wrong When You Lose Top Talent

Last year, the average employee’s tenure was less than 5 years, according to the U.S. Labor Dept. Given the reality that few people today spend decades working for the same employer, here’s what you need to do after you lose top talent. 

Sooner or Later You Will Lose Top Talent – Here are 4 Ways to Improve Your Business When They Leave

Whether they’re leaving for greener pastures, greater responsibilities or more money, every business will lose top talent from time to time, though losing top employees can hurt your business. When this happens to you, forget regret; here are four ways to focus on making your business better, instead.

In June, Forbes published an article essentially touting the advantages of changing jobs, vs. trying to climb the ladder within an organization. One of the key statistics cited in support of job-hopping was a stunner: Employees who stay in companies longer make half as much as their job-hopping counterparts over a lifetime:

“The worst kept secret is that employees are making less on average every year. Staying employed at the same company for over two years on average is going to make you earn less over your lifetime by about 50% or more. Keep in mind that 50% is a conservative number at the lowest end of the spectrum. This is assuming that your career is only going to last 10 years. The longer you work, the greater the difference will become over your lifetime.”  Cameron Keng, Forbes – Read more at http://onforb.es/1oZl0Wi

Another article published on cnbc.com points out that it might be time to quit a job for an employee who is no longer being challenged, given increased responsibilities, adequately compensated or has no clear path for advancement. With the economy on the upswing after the recession, it may be even more likely that ambitious, talented employees will tweak their resumes and see what other opportunities might be available to them.

Even if your organization is lucky enough to keep top talent from seeking other opportunities or being recruited away, eventually every employee moves on, even if it is only for retirement. The point is, sooner or later your organization is going to lose top talent — someone that you viewed as vital to your team’s success and sustainability.

4 Ways to Improve After You Lose Top Talent

Find out why they really left, and fix it.

This might sound easy, but it may be more difficult – and more painful – to do than you imagine. When a valued employee leaves to take a job somewhere else, they may obscure the real reasons they made their decision in symptoms, rather than causes.

Without knowing the root cause of their dissatisfaction — their pain point, if you will — as an internal customer, you cannot determine whether it’s something that can be remedied so that others do not follow suit or whether you could even mitigate against their departure.

That said, it also requires a business leader to admit that their organization has room to improve and may even lead to some painful self-realization and disillusionment. However, you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.

Leave your door open for dialogue.

When high profile employees leave, other workers will notice. While it might be easier to keep the reasons why to yourself, the vacuum created by lack of factual information leaves a lot of room for speculation. Take this opportunity to dialogue with managers and employees as a group or one on one, including addressing the reasons why they left or inviting those with concerns to bring them to you.

Go back to the drawing board.

When a top performer leaves it’s not always easy – or even possible – to replace their skills with another candidate. Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board to determine if your current organizational structure is the right one to move forward with.

An employee who leaves for greater responsibility may even open the path for others who want to move up and take on new responsibilities within your organization, so it may even represent a blessing in disguise. By stepping out of the spotlight, you may discover hidden talent and ambition in your workforce.

Build for the Future

When talented employees who were driving efforts in their department leave, you should pause before replacing them to determine whether they were steering your organization in the right direction! This is the perfect time to revisit your long range plan and bring on new talent that may be even better-suited to help you achieve your organization’s long term goals.

You might also like: 3 Ways to Retain Top Talent

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  1. […] with mission-critical skills and expertise to your business. The last thing you want is to lose top performers to another organization or to dissatisfaction, simply because you assumed they were as happy to be […]

  2. […] – if anything – have you done to make it less likely that your best employees would leave for greener pastures? What can you […]

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