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Miscellaneous articles on staff recognition

Research: Top Performers Most Likely to Leave

Some recent research findings are worrisome and should cause us to think about how we treat our top performers and what we are doing to retain them.

After surveying 16,237 employees, Leadership IQ found that the very people who make organizations successful are the ones most likely to be actively searching for a new job (A summary of this study is available at: www.leadershipiq.com/quitting.html).

Nearly half (47%) of employees who were classified as top performers, based on annual performance appraisals, were submitting resumes and going for interviews.

Even more disturbing is the finding that they are being driven to leave by their managers. “The worst part of this is that we typically cause our high performers to quit by how we treat them,” says Leadership IQ CEO Mark Murphy.

“Frankly, we treat our high performers worse than any other employee. When a manager has a tough project upon which the whole company depends, to whom do they turn? Who gets the late hours and the stress? It’s not the low performers, because managers want the project done right. Instead managers turn to their handful of high performers. Over and over we ask them to go above and beyond, making their jobs tough and burning them out at a terrible pace. Meanwhile, low performers often get easier jobs because their bosses dread dealing with them and may avoid them altogether.”

And how likely are these low performers, who the organization might even benefit from losing, to be looking for a new position?

Not very, according to the study. Only 18 per cent of low performers and 25 per cent of middle performers are actually looking for other work.

What this study illustrates is the important role direct supervisors play in retaining staff. As many have observed, “People join companies, but they quit managers.”

Corporately, organizations can provide salaries and benefits that attract new employees. But for most employees, that’s not enough. If it was just about money, it would be easy for another organization to come along offering higher pay and better benefits.

To be committed and engaged, employees need an emotion bond with their organization. More than anything else, the strength of this bond depends on the relationship that exists between the employee and his/her supervisor, which is significantly influenced by how the employee is treated.

Managers the need training and tools to enable them to build strong relationships with employees through staff recognition and other retention strategies.

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