Retention: How can top people be retained and develop medium-term prospects in the company?

Attracting and retaining top people is becoming an increasingly important competitive factor. 

Only if we succeed in giving them the right tasks, an inspiring environment, the opportunity for personal development, the right teamwork, as well as appreciation and attention, will they contribute enthusiastically to the company’s success in the long term. Money plays only a subordinate role here. The material side must be right and regularly adjusted. However, a golden anklet or a golden cage are of no use in the long term.

What factors keep the best managers in the company? How do I avoid making them receptive to other offers?

Exit interview is of little use

In the so-called exit interview, it is usually too late and, moreover, I only find out why they are leaving, if at all. In most cases, the true reasons are concealed out of politeness, as one does not want to unnecessarily make things worse with the former employer.

The Retention Index – “You can’t manage, what you don’t measure”.

It is much more useful to find out in advance, proactively, why the management team is there, to measure this and to form a Retention Index from this. “What I measure, I can manage.” If I know what keeps the top people in the company, I can take that into account when taking retention actions and developing a retention strategy. This not only serves to maintain and increase the satisfaction of top people, but also in attracting other leaders. The better they know why the top people are at the company, the better they can decide if they want to work at the same company. 

A top team in a team culture attracts more top people. 

The important thing is to make sure they complement each other, in terms of diversity, skills, character and leadership aspirations, and pull together despite their differences.

Influence of Covid and digitalization and other trends.

While until a few years ago, the home office option was hardly a factor in retaining top executives, in the age of virtual teams, video conferencing and hybrid meetings, it has become an important factor. 

Likewise, culture, “Purpose” and “Meaning” have become more important. 

It follows the ability to identify with the role and be intrinsically motivated to work. In addition, both the team and the direct manager are important. Everyone would like to be part of a top team in which people challenge and support each other in an appreciative manner and at eye level. The opportunity to develop personally and increase one’s own value on the job market is also highly sought after.

Other factors are the working environment, the reputation of the company and the top management. 

Only at the end comes the financial side. It has to be right, but is less influential compared to the aforementioned factors.

Retention Assessment

As part of a retention assessment, it is possible to measure the retention index. The retention index provides information on how great the risk of churn is or how strong the bond to the task and the company is. This indicates the fundamental need for action. The frequency with which the individual factors for remaining in the company are mentioned shows which factors must be maintained and expanded in order to maintain or improve the Retention Index.

In the age of digitalization, a retention assessment can also be conducted virtually and evaluated digitally.

In the subsequent joint workshop with the management team, measures and a retention strategy can be derived to manage the retention index in such a way that it leads to a competitive advantage. One way to do this is through the TRANSEARCH Orxestra® assessment “Why do you stay?”

To ensure this, a Trusted Leadership Advisor is recommended, as is the case with many consulting firms listed in the AESC (Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consulting) (see https://www.aesc.org).

Laura Venema
29.03.2022
von Laura Venema