How to Keep Your Best Employees When Attrition is Unavoidable

How to Keep Your Best Employees When Attrition is Unavoidable

Let’s tell it like it is: your employees will most likely leave you for the next best opportunity as soon as it comes their way. But you’re not the innocent one in this game for two either. You’re a poacher yourself, myself. Think about it: how many times have you wondered that you want to hire someone with:

  • Relevant experience in the “field”
  • A few big company names under their belt
  • Independent contractors that have worked with a lot of competitiors?

Let’s face it, you’re just as guilty of it as the others who have their eyes on your employees are. You want that corporate information just as much as the other person. So yes, people will leave companies on their own more often than you would have the chance to fire them.

The question then is not how to retain. The question is who to retain.

Retaining in the Short Run

There will be instances when an employee will be worthwhile in the short run. That is, their skills, knowledge and capabilities will be more effective for a definite period. Say, you’ve got a particular project to complete where they are pretty good, or a big client to satisfy that has come your way. Employees that have specific skills are useful to retain for that time period only. Ridding of them altogether would mean you’ll have to train someone else in their area of expertise. This will cost you money and valuable time. And if you’re dealing with a client that has come up, time is something you can’t afford to lose. It is perhaps best to have such people on contract basis where you can have them to get a particular task done.

Retaining the Definite Players

Such employees are assets to your organization, and we realize… finding an accurate replacement for them would suck. You’re going to have to keep these people for much longer than you had initially anticipated. Because these people understand the nature of the job, the day to day tasks, the execution. Most importantly, they understand all of this in the context of your organization. So losing these would definitely be a bit of a setback.

Retaining the Wildcards

There will always be a few employees that may not seem worth retaining after all. In this case, you’re going to have to do something people in sales call the isolate and explode. Sure you’ve got all the performance data in the world. But what you’ve got to do is look at specific data points in isolations to see where the problem is coming from. Are they creating enough value for the company? Are their expenses outweighing the returns? Are they stuck in stagnant waters? Times like these pulling the plug may seem like the only thing to do, and we won’t blame you. However, we’d suggest you give them a bit of a warning. After all, some people work better under deadlines and supervisions. Perhaps all they were lacking was a bit of motivation to energize them.

So next time an employee announces that they’re leaving for a better opportunity, consider if they’re even worth retaining. Maybe you’ll have better options out there.


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