Empty Bench and Tree

4 Ways High-Performance Organizations Retain Their Best Employees

"It should come as no surprise that high-performance organizations are 3.2x more focused on retaining top talent," says i4cp's The People-Profit Chain™ performance model. How do those top organizations demonstrate their commitment to keeping talented employees onboard? Think about it as retention by numbers--i4cp research suggests a four-part process underlies high-performance.

Provide career opportunities

At first blush, this strategy seems to fall under the "duh" category of no-brainers. Why would any employee worth her (or his) salt stay with an employer where jobs are dead ends? And what employer would really want that kind of worker on the payroll?

Visible career paths provide concrete evidence of an employer's commitment to the value of workers and their development. Clear advancement opportunities tied (through workforce planning) to the business's future talent and skills needs also speak to logical plans that drive organizational longevity and success. Given that scenario, what valued employee would want to leave?

Ensure that managers support learning and skills development

i4cp's Talent Management in the Trenches report notes: "High-performing companies are 3x more likely to say their frontline leaders are involved in leadership development." These same organizations "are almost twice as likely" to report that frontline managers "are involved in career/employee development and high-potential employee development."

Those findings directly link managers' involvement in employee learning with better organizational performance. Further, in this world of rapid-fire change and evolution, anyone who isn't actively learning--in the workplace or at home--is simply standing still (and about to be passed by). Competitive organizations must invest in their people and aim to keep them.

Allow greater individual and team autonomy

Rewarding Innovation

Most of us prefer to call our own shots. In high-performance organizations, employees and work teams are given the freedom, and the trust it implies, to accomplish work in their own ways. i4cp research found an interesting by-product with that approach: it's a driver of innovation--and a reward for it. So is engaging work. High-performing organizations are 1.5x more likely to make those things happen.

Organizations that offer engaging work, freedom to innovate, and trust employees to perform capably can look forward to creative workers who are engaged in their jobs and happy to stay onboard.

Create an environment that enables employees to maximize their potential

A workplace that brings out the best in managers and employees is what successful talent retention is all about. Who among us would choose to leave a job where we felt our potential was recognized, valued, and nurtured?

In high-performance organizations, that simple maxim is not just understood, it defines the culture. And it drives development of internal talent pools to feed succession pipelines for leadership and for critical roles at all organizational levels--again underscoring the potential for career longevity and helping drive talent retention.

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Carol Morrison
Carol Morrison is a Senior Research Analyst and Associate Editor with the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp), specializing in workforce well-being research.