7 reasons why you are losing your top talent

Replacing talent is a disruptive and costly exercise for any business. When it comes to the loss of top talent through unexpected departures, the effect can be even more damaging to an organisation’s momentum.

The truth is, employees are rarely tempted to leave when they feel challenged, valued and rewarded. If your top talent has just walked out the door, chances are you failed to keep them engaged by making one or more of these seven critical leadership mistakes:

1. No motivation

It’s the intrinsic motivators that help you retain top talent. For employees, intrinsic rewards can include the desire to do important work or create innovative products that contribute to the company’s success. If you fail to engage your talent’s intrinsic motivators, they can easily find their extrinsic motivators – like salary and bonuses – somewhere else.

2. Challenge? What challenge?

Successful people don’t rest on their laurels – they are always looking for the next challenge. If you don’t offer your top talent the chance to stretch and grow, they’ll quickly tire of the status quo, and go looking for something new and exciting to work on instead.

3. If you don’t develop them, someone else will

No matter how driven a person is, they still need guidance and support in developing their skills. If you don’t work with your future leaders to nurture and help them grow, there will always be another employer just waiting to snap them up and take them on the journey you started.

4. Trust in turmoil

If you increase your top talent’s workload without increasing their responsibilities, you effectively stifle their ambition and their creativity. When you fail to empower your staff, they tend to shift their aspirations and motivation somewhere else, entirely.

5. Be ready to recognise

Withholding credit where credit is due is a sure way to point top talent toward the door. As with those intrinsic motivators, reward and recognition goes beyond salary. When you regularly fail to recognise the contributions of your top talent, you devalue their contribution and encourage them to find a more visible role elsewhere.

6. Mismanagement

It’s been said that people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. Study after study shows that bad management has the greatest effect on employee dissatisfaction. Managers who withhold opportunities, fail to communicate or fail to appreciate good work will not inspire loyalty in their talent, and risk losing that talent to managers who understand the importance of their relationship with employees.

7. Fun fail

When you provide a fun and flexible environment, where employees are encouraged to work hard and play hard, you facilitate a culture where top talent can thrive. Employees working long hours in an unstimulating, rigid environment will soon push back, and look for companies more creative in their approach to productivity.

The best managers understand their influence when it comes to retaining talent and work hard to avoid these mistakes. They know, as Mary Kay Ash, founder of the hugely successful Mary Kay cosmetics company once said, “a company is only as good as the people it keeps.”

While SEEK partners with trusted contributors to bring you the latest insight and advice, the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
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Lorena Healey

Lorena Healey Consulting


Lorena Healey is an independent business consultant, specialising in culture alignment, employee engagement and leadership development. Prior to starting her own business, Lorena worked at SEEK from 2006 to 2014 in areas of organisational design,...

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