How does an effective leader or manager address the issue of retention? What strategies can be employed to minimize the impact to the organization when a high performer decides to leave? Better yet how can we help them not leave in the first place? How do we address the potential dichotomy between retention and performance management? These questions and more will be the focus of a new series on leadership development here at develop a leader dot com called Retain Retrain or Release I am regularly amused by people who think that retention strategies should be generalized programs that apply equally to all employees. Let’s face it folks not all employees are created equally. All you have to do is look at old Jack Welch and his strategy to relentlessly remove the bottom 10%. If they were all equal why would he bother? Now of course the bleeding heart socialists would say his strategy was reckless and damaging. I disagree. It is a wise strategy and one that over a course of several years has the potential to build a dream team. If of course you know how. If of course you know when to stop. No retention programs should be surgical. They should target those high potential individuals who you (and other leaders) know have star power. Star power meaning star performer not glamor girl and the like. Retention programs should be surgical and work in lock step with corrective action programs. You know the ones where bad managers say we are going to coach you so you can improve your performance. Yes those ones designed for really only one thing to help the under performing employee you have given up on out the door. Do you sense some cynicism? Yup I don’t think much of the way these programs are handled either. We will discuss these as well.Retention working with training and correction, under the performance management umbrella, that is the ticket.
So where do we begin?
As a leader you need to first assess the talent you need for your enterprise to be successful. This presumes you have a clear picture on the core competencies of your organization and how you define success. (If you are not there take a step back and figure this out). Once you know what talents you need to be successful, it is time to conduct a review of your team and their capabilities and competencies. These two steps form the basis of a gap analysis. Then we go to work on how to address deficiencies. Not to mention how to position your organization to retain the stars you have identified through the process…