How to retain your top talent

2020 was the year of lockdowns and working from home. 2021 was the year of the great resignation. 2022 was the year of quiet quitting. 2023 is the year of moonlighting (or even career cushioning), or supplementing income from another source. None of these are good for your business, or your productivity.  

But what can you do to be proactive and ensure that your top talent stays. And stays because they want to, because you give them a reason to. Not because they have to, to take a pay cheque. 

If you want to retain your top talent in 2023, here are some top tips. 

1. Embrace flexibility 

Remember again for a moment that it is 2023. Old school organisations and old school leaders are not going to be successful anymore. Even though 89% of organisations are following Elon Musk’s lead and adopting a voluntary separation process (credit: Spiceworks.com), or voluntary redundancy, as you might know it – the underlying issue is that it is not the under performers who are leaving – it is the top talent. 

Because they can get a better deal elsewhere (rightly or wrongly). Because their expectations have increased (which is ok). Because their leaders aren’t adapting and developing a 2023 workplace (which is absolutely happening).  

I feel like the next two to three years will see the landscape of working arrangements settle down and go back to the pre-pandemic office-based practices. Or organisations will shift their thinking to a post-pandemic mindset. One or the other will become the norm, but for the moment, flexibility is key, if you want to retain top talent. If your top talent wants to work from home for some of their working hours, or they want to work different hours, or they want to work compressed hours, have the conversation, and listen to why these are important to your team members. These changes may not all be practical, but they should at least be heard, and considered.  

2. Team members don’t leave organisations, they leave leaders 

Sadly, leadership growth has not moved at the same trajectory as employee flexibility has. Or articles like this would not be a thing. 

Some senior leaders are inspired by layoff programs and processes, like the way it was done at Twitter. Cut and shut the dead wood. And move on. And this is completely necessary at times, but at the same time, the more poorly handled the layoff process is, the more difficult it is for top talent to feel comfortable that they are not going to be next in the firing line. 

Remember that other global organisations have undertaken mass layoffs, but they have not been as public. Why, because they were done in a more people-centred way. And that is too boring and doesn’t make the news. The more professional the process, the less fanfare.  

I feel like leaders are still reeling from the past two to three years. I know that they should have embraced and moved on, but the pandemic was such as disruptive force that leaders feel like it should be done and dusted now, and that things should go back to how they were. When they probably never will. Leaders that are unwilling to listen, that aren’t embracing psychological safety, that aren’t leaning into people over production will retain their positions. But they won’t retain their top talent. 

3. Care factor 

Teambuilding.com recently listed the top 11 things that organisations can do to address the challenge of quiet quitting.  

I feel like this is the best list of things leaders can do, although a list of 11 could be seen as long and arduous. I will list the 10 things below, but if you like my summarised version of them, it will increase your care factor, and help you think about what team members need to feel engaged at work. What they need to feel cared for. What they need to feel valued at work. 

If you are a leader, and you feel like your team is quietly quitting, try to keep increases in workload short-term. Property compensate and renumerate your team members. Make stepping up optional and be upfront about future role-growth. Lean into employee recognition strategies, and at the same time try to monitor mood and behaviour changes. Encourage breaks and support employee wellbeing. Build rapport and relationships, whilst maintaining boundaries to promote a work life balance. 

Whatever you call it, the great resignation or quiet quitting, if your top talent is leaving, it is time to intervene.  

Please reach out if you need to talk. 

And please click the image below if you’d like to chat about what leadership means to you.

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About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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