June 28, 2017

How do I prevent my employees from jumping ship with the knowledge I have empowered them to deploy?

I don’t know a company alive who is not wrestling with this question. The majority of leaders today are being challenged by top talent that jumps ship or gets recruited away, and this trend is going to only escalate in the next few years as Generation Y comes into the workforce. This young group of leaders see job hopping as a necessary step in their career development, and in order to stick around, leaders are going to have to be committed to building an organization that is attractive enough to keep sharp people around.

Today’s careerists are saying that they are usually attracted to a company because of strong brand equity, a great salary and nice perks. But, what keeps them with a company is a creative, collegial atmosphere, pride in the organization, access to the top decision makers in the company, the opportunity for advancement in the company and exposure to the training and development needed to grow their managerial and leadership skills.

I have coached over 800 people and have trained over 10,000, and what I know to be true is that employees leave when they feel they have no other choice. Employees don’t necessarily leave companies…they leave a boss who is making life difficult, or a culture that has become boring and stagnant, or a lack of psychological safety, or when they feel like they are stuck in a dead end job without any type of inspiration from a manger or co-workers. To stop employees from jumping ship, the leader has to be willing to bring a great deal to the company to create an environment that is exciting, one that allows employees the opportunity to engage in open debate and that offers employees challenging assignments that will stretch them both mentally and emotionally.

Leaders will also be required to become dedicated to ongoing learning and development and to create a true learning organization in the culture. They will be challenged to find new and creative ways to capture and then leverage the knowledge of their most critical talent. Through blogs, wikis, company forums and interviews, decision makers can begin capturing and then sharing knowledge so that they grow the company and create a succession plan for future leaders. Leaders of the future who engage in what is known as a knowledge harvest — a systematic, facilitated gathering of information through formal interviews, observations and collection of data so that best practices can be shared throughout the company will have the upper hand in the future.

We are in the midst of one of the most exciting yet turbulent times in history. The companies who can keep talent from jumping ship will be those who take the time to respect, trust and develop their employees. It’s just that simple! We would like to encourage you to comment and share your ideas on this pressing question.

To learn more about how to prevent your top employees from jumping ship and taking their knowledge with them, pre-order EDGE: A Leadership Story today..

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