CEO Insider

How to Avoid Losing Your Best Talent

Tia Graham

More than half (52%) of North American employees surveyed are looking for a new job this year, according to a report conducted by Achievers. This trend will likely continue into 2022 as companies bring people back into office buildings and create new hybrid working models. The entire workforce has just experienced and witnessed thousands of layoffs and is very aware that profits come before people. People are reassessing what they truly want, how they want to live and approach life, and if their work and career gives them meaning and is contributing to society and the planet. Changing industries is becoming easier and online education gives people the opportunity to upskill or start side businesses while working their corporate position.

CEOs and Senior Executives need to know the exact value of their top talent as well as the turnover expense if these people choose to become an entrepreneur or get recruited. Recruitment, hiring, onboarding, training, and productivity lost must be calculated. In addition to knowing these financials, business leaders must make retention, loyalty, and morale top priorities to avoid losing the people who are moving your organization forward.

Tia Graham

Here are four strategies that CEOs and Executive Teams must ensure are happening throughout the organization and especially with top talent.

  1. Give people the right amount of autonomy
    One of the fastest ways to lose top talent is by closely tracking their weekly and daily activities, and focusing on their schedule versus their results and productivity. The Monday through Friday 9 to 5 schedule started in the 1920s and is not suitable for today’s workforce. Invest in hiring people with internal drive, creativity and passion, and trust that they want to shine.CEOs and senior executives need to be using technology to monitor and survey their teams to understand if people feel that they need more autonomy. Newer and less experienced people leaders throughout the organization will need to be trained and given clear direction that the company values trust. CEOs can analyze where in the organization are opportunities to flatten the structure and allow for more information to flow freely.
  2. Increase human connection and belonging
    Happy team members are more creative, innovative, productive, and grow your business faster. Human connection is the number one predictor of happiness and Gallup research has proven the financial benefits of top talent having a “best friend at work.” In our digital age where we are all connected, people have never felt more disconnected from their colleagues and teams. Your top talent will turn down a higher-level position and more money if they feel deeply connected to people in your company.Business executives must communicate to their direct reports that this is a priority on an ongoing basis and give them tools to effectively foster belonging. The foundation of this is ensuring that every person in the organization is treated fairly and equally. Loyalty comes when top talent has close personal relationships with several people throughout the organization, wants to grow professionally and personally with these people, and feels that they connect to the mission. This connection and belonging can grow or deteriorate with each communication and interaction.
  3. Energetic communication around meaning
    CEOs need to ensure that the top talent in their organization consistently hear that their work is full of meaning to the organization and that the purpose of the company is to help society. The mission and vision of your company need to ignite fire inside of people and motivate them to give their best every single day. Senior executives need to ensure that all leaders are effective at storytelling and sharing how the mission of the company gives them purpose.In addition, CEOs need to ensure that top talent and team members are being recognized for their progress in meaningful work. This is the number one factor in human motivation and talent must hear how they are changing the lives of people or the planet with energy. With all the business strategies and metrics available, it is easy for people throughout the organization to forget or not connect with purpose and it needs to be top of mind daily.
  4. Genuine and positive appreciation
    CEOs and senior executives typically don’t receive authentic appreciation on a weekly or potentially even monthly basis. Due to this, they may not be communicating genuine and positive appreciation through verbal and written communication to their direct reports. This creates a ripple effect all the way throughout the organization. It is crucial that top talent and everyone in the company receive consistent, specific, and positive appreciation on a weekly basis, ideally.Humans are naturally uncomfortable giving feedback, including positive feedback. Senior executives need to commit to training every single people leader on feedback. They also must communicate the importance of fair and ongoing positive appreciation to their teams. Appreciation increases happiness at work, and happiness at work drives customer satisfaction, productivity, innovation, and collaboration.

Written by Tia Graham.

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Tia Graham
Tia Graham is a Chief Happiness Officer and the Founder of Arrive At Happy, a company with the mission of inspiring organizational transformation through the science of happiness and neuroscience. She works with global companies to elevate engagement and drive bottom line results.


Tia Graham is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. You can follow her on LinkedIn.