Are You Competing Hard Enough to Keep Top Leader Talent?

Are You Competing Hard Enough to Keep Top Leader Talent?

Are You Competing Hard Enough to Keep Top Leader Talent?

Right now, many organizations and top leaders I’m consulting with need help holding on to their top talent. As restrictions are lifted and organizations are considering how and when to bring their employees back, competition for talent is fierce. You may not be fighting hard enough to retain those team members, while your competitors are going all-in to lure them away.

More than half of all U.S. workers plan to change jobs in 2021. Many of those who’ve been surveyed already have plans in motion to migrate to a new company. They want to play a bigger role, and they can see that there’s an all-out war for talent that is in high demand and low supply. Companies are revamping their strategies and rolling out new innovations discovered last year that will drive efficiency and productivity. But they need the right people to make it happen – and they won’t think twice about stealing them from you.

Leaders are poached out on LinkedIn. Recruiters are aggressively calling people to flatter them. Valued employees are sending their resumes in all directions. You may wonder why they would ever consider leaving you and your organization. So, let me tell you why top talent is leaving employers in 2021 to go lead teams at competitor companies. 

These are four primary reasons they give, based on what I’m hearing every day in the trenches.

  • “I don’t feel that my contributions to the organization’s success are fully valued.”
  • “My employer doesn’t get it. I’m not just happier but also way more productive when I work from home.”
  • “Better opportunities are available to me now and they are too attractive for me not to take.”

P.S. 43% of women (a number which could conceivably rise to half of the workforce!) say that they’d rather stay home than have to return to the workplace they left in 2020.

Organizations Need a Solid Talent Retention Strategy

5 key strategies to retain your top talent now:

1) Invest in Top Talent: Everyone talks about people being their most important asset. But unless you back it up, people will walk despite the talk. Invest proactively in your employees. Go the extra mile to provide your leaders with career and skill development courses and coaching. That will stem the attrition and solidify your competitive advantage.

2) Don’t Keep Succession Plans Secret: Too often I speak to a manager about a specific person they have in mind for succession planning, only to discover that the person has no idea. Why would you keep such an incentivizing motivator a secret? In my experience, when someone knows you believe in them enough to include them in your forward-thinking plans, they’ll move mountains for you in return. Let them know! 

3) Take Calculated Risks: Don’t hold back your talent because of fear of taking calculated risks. Otherwise, you miss out on innovation that can be an organizational game-changer. Give your leaders the latitude and autonomy to think and act creatively. If they falter, allow them the chance to refine their ideas. In the long run you’ll gain higher efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

4) Use Touch-Base Updates: Don’t just formulate a developmental plan and discuss it once or twice a year. Make it part of your monthly update conversations. Let your talent know what you observe – both in terms of their progress and additional opportunities to grow. Talk about their goals and how they perceive their development. Show genuine interest and they won’t lose interest and look for greener pastures elsewhere.

5) Value their Contributions: Acknowledge individual contributions to the team and the organization. People may not understand how essential you believe they are. Think of ways to showcase their special contributions both privately and publicly. Recognition is vital to team morale and healthy corporate DNA. Without it your best people may feel underappreciated. That makes them susceptible to invitations to go where they feel more valued.


Right now, everyone desperately needs top-notch talent. Make sure that you are not losing yours, which will cost you precious time, effort, and expense.

  • What would it cost you to replace a great employee, and what negative impact would that suddenly have?
  • Are there systems in place to encourage and recognize your top talent and protect you from attrition?
  • Do you have initiatives to develop your talent and continually boost their careers and responsibilities?
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