The January edition of Talent Management magazine has an article on retaining top talent.  In it the author lists the grim reality of lost talent.

direct replacement costs of a departing employee can reach as high as 60 percent of that employee’s salary, according to the 2008 Society for Human Resource Management Foundation report “Retaining Talent.”

Other costs stem from failure to achieve organizational goals, interrupted strategy execution, loss of successor and leadership backup, loss of organizational knowledge and customer relationships, turnover and recruiting expenses, expense of leader time filling open positions, slowdown during transition, overload of other leaders who provide backup and floundering or disengaged work teams.

Losing top talent doesn’t have to be inevitable.  How do you prevent it?

The Bailey Group, an executive coaching and consulting organization, measure employee engagement via nine drivers.  Missing some or all drivers in an organization can result in employee engagement decline and increased flight risk.  They are:

  • Trust in leadership
  • Manager/supervisor relationship
  • Co-worker relationships
  • Job satisfaction/enjoyment
  • Connection to vision or clarity of purpose
  • Pride in organization
  • Development opportunities
  • Utilization of strengths
  • Discretionary effort or self-directed contributions to the organization

Daniel Pink writes in his book Drive that people are motivated by self-direction, learning, creativity, and the desire to make the world a better place.  I posted an entry on the book here.

Creating a culture based on the factors listed above is easier said than done.  It requires openness.  It requires a person to sincerely seek input from all levels of the organization.  It requires deliberate and focused effort to use that input to make changes.

If you are worried about retaining or attracting talent consider how you can integrate the items above into your daily interactions.  Ask your employees how they feel about each of these items.  Show you are really interested in their feelings.  Just raising the topic alone will show them your commitment.  If you are genuine, the employee will tell in the way you approach the topic.