Too many articles today are focused on retaining top talent through flexible work schedules, yoga classes, and higher compensation. But many of these articles fail to balance the need to drive results. Here are 5 tips to retain your top talent AND drive results by focusing on clarity, mentoring, and investment:
Tip 1: Establish 3 month goals. In a one-on-one meeting, build clear goals with your direct report for what they need to achieve in the next three months. This clarity is what enables flexible work. If they achieve these goals, it doesn’t necessarily matter when or where they achieve the goals, as long as they achieve them. Your top talent will appreciate the clarity and they will stick around to accomplish them.
Tip 2: Mentor your Direct Reports. Managers often forget their direct reports haven’t been on the same development path they have travelled. You had mentors and managers who have guided them and showed you the way. Take time to help direct your reports learn their roles, manage their work life balance, organize their time, and learn to build important relationships. Employees leave bad managers, so be a good mentor manager that teaches them how to drive results.
Tip 3: Be the Model for Work Life Balance. In a recent study by Gallup, employees reported a greater chance of satisfaction in work life balance if they perceived their boss to have good work life balance. This isn’t about programming your emails to be delivered at 7am instead of at midnight. This is about truly learning to delegate effectively and spreading the workload effectively. It is about prioritizing work and managing the capacity of the team by managing deadlines.
Tip 4: Invest in your Talent. Hiring an leadership coach doesn’t have to be a $20K proposition anymore. There are opportunities to invest in a three month coaching program or a high potential cohort coaching program that can fit your budget and show your direct reports you are invested in their future. As you invest in their future and show commitment to them, top talent will also show commitment to you and your organization. And they will gain skills to drive better results as well!
Tip 5: Be Human. The old persona of a boss who doesn’t make mistakes and criticizes all the mistakes of their direct reports is a persona that no longer works. The world is complex! Your top talent is looking for a partner who will think through challenges together, take risks together, and make decisions together. If they feel scared of you, they will be reluctant to take risks and be trapped in fear. This will result in poor results and poor talent retention. Instead, focus on being their partner, not their drill sergeant.
As the corporate world continues to evolve and face new challenges, it is critical to retain your top talent and deliver results. Leaders and middle managers need to be head coaches. Head coaches can’t go out on the field to kick or throw the ball. They must remain on the sidelines providing direction, support, coaching, and most importantly encouragement.