Keeping Your Number 1s Is Only Your First Priority

4 Minutes Read

I’ve been talking to the HR executives I deal with daily a lot recently about the “great resignation.”  Guess what everyone, it’s here! A lot of solid organizations are losing talented people for perfectly valid reasons.  A lot of them are very concerned because they are losing the top performers, I call them number one’s.  So how do you keep the number one’s from leaving?  When you lose a number one, someone else becomes a number one so how do you prevent them from leaving? 

The good news is that there are several things you can do today to reduce the risk of this.  The serious news I tell all of KangoGift’s customers, no matter what country or part of the world they are in, is that you need to be doing so important things TODAY! The office world is settling down to some extent but you’re foolish to think things are going back to normal any time soon.  Even if you are now all under one roof you are still going to need to deal with dozens of small offices just like you were this time last year. 

This time there are some relatively easy ways to deal with this threat.  The problem is how willing you are to commit the resources to do so. If you’re willing to do so there are decisive steps you can take starting today to keep your number 1s and all other rock stars from leaving. 

These include: 

  • Start using multiple communications channels
  • Ask your teams questions not surveys 
  • Give your team members the opportunity to share with you the extra steps they’ve taken

Let’s look at this in more detail. 

Start using multiple communications channels--Like I said earlier, everyone under one roof doesn’t automatically mean a switch back to the way things were before COVID.  We are going to be working with the mindset of the solo office for some time to come. 

One way to overcome this is by using multiple channels of communications.  It could be communications from the immediate supervisor or the divisional vice president up to the CEO and everyone in between. The channels could be a video chat or some direct facetime.  As is safe and practical of course. 

The goal of this part of the plan is to continue to engage your employees in a fashion they may have grown used to during the remote work process.  For those who are still working remote or are in a hybrid mode that alternates with this message delivery, you are still reaching them.  In any case you are making your employees feel informed, educated and appreciated. 

Ask your teams questions not surveys--There is nothing to build a wall between management and employees more than asking them to fill out another survey that has nothing to do with their roles.  Turn your managers into the people asking the questions. You need to have an ultra-niche question document that maybe you send out or, better yet, you use one-on-one.  Not a survey because it asks the questions that help people feel successful in their roles. 

An old survey asked things like, “do you like the benefits package?”  The ulta-niche question is based on inputs from the line and will ask one group to name 3 ways to help them become more successful in their roles.  It allows for more of any open ended discussion and not the meaningless data that 44% of people are more than satisfied with the benefits package. 

If you intended to keep your number ones then you need to know what concerns them enough they might jump ship.  The way you do this is by asking them relevant questions and providing them with answers that they are satisfied with. 

In other words, you need to open a dialog. 

Give your team members the opportunity to share with you the extra work they have done--Don’t like to have your employees toot their own well guess what;  It’s time you started to have them do it.

It’s important that you realize this isn’t some small child pleading for attention, it’s an opportunity to have the previously mentioned dialog. We have just spent almost 18 months working autonomously and isolated.  There is going to be a certain need for your teams to want to share what they are doing with you and want you to validate that they are doing a good job. What may not have been appropriate pre-Covid should be accepted now. 

Until when people may ask?  Until we decide it isn’t which means it varies from organization to organization. 

I’ve been talking to a lot of HR leaders a lot about their concerns around the “great resignation” and of that topic the issue of losing their number one’s rises to the top.  Want to stop that?  Then do the following.

  • Stop thinking your pre-COVID communication channels will continue to work.  You need to communicate via multiple channels and the conversation, yes it has to be a conversation, needs to be two way. 
  • Ask your teams and teammates questions.  This is not doing another survey and the exact questions this is about employee engagement and making sure your team knows their inputs are respected and their feelings count. 
  • Give your teammates the opportunity to share with you their accomplishments and other important factors. We are recovering from a shock to the system unlike any other.  It has been virtually impossible for anyone to stand out and now we’re seeing the impact from those who felt their accomplishments went unrecognized. Now we need to encourage people to step forward and share their accomplishments if for no other reason then to let them know they are important 

Employee engagement has never been more challenging than it is today.  The old models and theories don’t count any more.  You obviously need to keep your number one performers.  The best way to do that is to treat everyone carefully and with the understanding that the delicate touch we have scorned for years is exactly what we need to do. 

Want to keep your number ones?  Engage them in such a way they know how much you value them and how important they are.  In fact, engage everyone like that! 

Todd Horton