The Number One Reason Talent Leaves
What is the number one reason candidates tell me they’re wishing to leave their current employer? “There is no growth or development opportunity!” It’s by far the most common reason talent leaves to go elsewhere. My advice to employers? Encourage employees to try out new roles, even if they are lateral. Teach leaders to develop their employees, even if it’s to move into new roles within. Ultimately, if you don’t, you will lose them to the outside anyway. Why not try to retain them with a new challenge for the greater good?
In FY18, our recruiting team processed 101 internal moves. This means that for a company of around 550, close to a fifth of our workforce took advantage of a new opportunity and moved into a new role or team. That stat alone proves that employees enjoy taking on new challenges. Providing internal opportunity reduces turnover, keeps employees engaged and motivated, helps employees develop stronger cross-functional knowledge, and give employers the ability to attract candidates who are looking for growth potential.
So how does an employer create this type of environment?
The support to encourage internal employee moves must permeate throughout an organization, top to bottom. For GreatAmerica, this starts with our Founder and CEO, Tony Golobic. Opportunity is at the heart of Tony’s career and the GreatAmerica name. Tony immigrated to the US when he was 16 years old, speaking little to no English and only had fifty dollars in his pocket. Eventually, Tony pursued his dream to create his own business and provide employment opportunities to others the way he was given when he came to the US. Tony inspires that same motivation to pursue new challenges in the team members he employs.
Mid-level leaders must also support the desire of their team members to try something new. At GreatAmerica, we support this desire in several ways, including every GreatAmerican having frequent meetings with their leaders to discuss performance and career development. Encouraging frequent check-ins where team members can be honest with leaders on their career aspirations and development is a great way for other companies to create a culture of opportunity.
Our new employees experience this culture of opportunity from their first day. Our “Top Notch Rookie Year” training gives new GreatAmericans exposure to the entire company through both formal and functional training. During their first month, employees attend formal training covering topics and functions throughout GreatAmerica in the morning. In the afternoon, functional leaders dive deeper into that same training and how it relates to their function.
Through our “Top Notch Rookie Year” training, we want to give new team members exposure to many different roles across GreatAmerica and set the stage for them to become cross-trained in their teams.
There are many competencies that can be attributed to an employee who will enjoy internal opportunity and development – motivation, tenacity, curiosity, adaptability, etc. So, if you want to hire talent that will take advantage of internal opportunity, hire based on these competencies.
There are many different tools and interview techniques to measure these qualities. There are pre-employment tests that will allow you to measure adaptability. Behavioral-based interview questions can provide examples of when a candidate was motivated towards a goal. These measurements can then aid in your hiring decision. You may also want to build in measurements of leadership potential during even initial interviews. Again, if you’re a company that promotes from within, you’re going to want to ensure you’re hiring aspiring leaders.
Yes, sometimes you will get the “I just want my foot in the door,” but don’t let that scare you off. Your hiring and training practices are in place to develop your talent to the best they can be, so don’t run away from candidates who want to take advantage of that. If a candidate can demonstrate that they’re a quick learner, strong problem-solver and hard worker, you will benefit from having them in your function even if it’s for a short time before they move on to something else in the organization.
As you develop a reputation as an employer that promotes from within and provides opportunity to their employees, you will then in turn have your pick from the best and the brightest. Remember, feeling stuck, stagnant, or not challenged is the number one reason candidates tell me they’re looking at new organizations. Therefore, develop and challenge your talent, and you will retain them!
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