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Five Reasons Why Businesses Fail to Retain Top Performers

27/11/2014 15:41 GMT | Updated 27/01/2015 10:59 GMT

Any business worth its salt knows that its most valuable asset is its staff. Your employees are the difference between success and failure, with their skills, experience and determination levels contributing in either a positive or negative way to their teams and to the company as a whole.

However, many companies, regardless of their size or perceived influence in their industry, struggle to hold onto their key or top-performing employees, who opt to leave of their own accord. There is sometimes a clear reason for this that an employer can do nothing about - for instance, the employee might be moving to a company located closer to where they live, which is nothing to do with the company. However, some reasons for leaving are preventable, and it may not be a problem that's obvious. If an employee appears to be taken care of in most or all departments, the issues may be deep-rooted and difficult to comprehend unless they're blindingly obvious - often, though, it isn't something you can easily discern.

No opportunity for career development

Very few people know exactly what they want to be doing in five years, but everyone wants to be able to take advantage of career development opportunities. However, there are companies in which the path for career progression within them are less defined than in other companies, and employees may decide to leave for somewhere that can offer them progression to more senior roles.

Learning and development also comes under this category. At the very least, employees want to learn new skills and techniques that will serve them well in their careers and enhance their future employability. Every organisation should offer the opportunity for employees to attend courses and seminars to expand their knowledge - it not only benefits the employee, but also the company in terms of costs, productivity and time, which are expended when a new hire is brought in.

Difficult managers/wrong team culture

It's worth noting, in relation to the above point, that many people don't quit a company, necessarily - according to evidence collected over the past few years, they tend to quit because of their manager or supervisor rather than an organisation as a whole. This can be because the manager is not a particularly good leader, for which they should be offered learning and development opportunities. They are also the primary cultivators of the overall engagement of the team, capable of ensuring that all members are motivated, happy, productive and in tune with the company's objectives and goals.

With this in mind, every effort should be made to ensure that managers connect with employees on a personal level as well as a professional one, ensuring that they feel challenged and offering opportunities for them to grow if they wish to. This will drive engagement and ultimately benefit all involved.

Lack of recognition

As well as highlighting the negatives in a blameless way so that employees and teams can improve for next time, which is one of the cornerstones of a progressive business, managers should also take the time to highlight a job well done. There is no incentive for someone to work hard and meet a client's needs or the company's goals if it is not going to be commented on or recognised in any way. A rewards programme, or even just a mention during a company meeting, can go a long way towards retaining the best performers.

No opinions allowed

Talented performers who have ideas about how to better go about performing tasks and processes should be listened to rather than ignored - who's to say that their idea won't lead to an improvement in the way the company is run? If you don't listen to them, another company probably will.

Too much work assigned to them

One of the issues with realising you have a good worker on your hands is unwittingly giving them more work than they can comfortably handle. If they consistently achieve high results, it is easy to give them project after project without thinking about whether they might suffer from burnout. If they feel that they can't ask for less work from you, they will simply leave for somewhere that understands the issue better than you do.

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