All the media in the last few days have been talking about how Lionel Messi’s contract with FC Barcelona came to an end when the club was not able to fulfill his salary requirements. This situation may be useful to exemplify something that happens in companies everyday: although change is normal and even necessary, some organizations end up losing some of their best collaborators due to a lack of strategies and attractive proposals. So, how can you make sure your best talents stay around?
Keep your eyes open:
Nobody decides to leave from one day to the next, so, as a leader, you should never underestimate the “hints” that your collaborators may be dropping, either to you or to other team members. This does not imply being paranoid and controlling every conversation, rather being smart and being able to read between the lines.
Talented people will always be looking for new and better challenges and that is perfectly normal, but sometimes they may decide to leave not due to their thirst for adventure but for a disagreement with the direction the company is taking. Being on the lookout for “warning signs” is always important.
Practice active listening:
Your best minds will surely have several ideas of their own. They will probably see room for improvement in different areas of the organization, and be willing to test their theories. One of the best things you can do, for sure, is listening to them. You may not always agree with their vision, but people need to feel that their opinion matters and is taken into account.
Invest in your talents:
The first thing that comes to mind when they tell you to “invest in your people” is probably giving them better salaries. And that is true, but it is only a fraction of the issue. If you want to show your best talents that you invest in them, you should also consider creating a team that allows them to reach their full potential, not relying on only one or two big achievers, but working hard to have the best possible team. You should also think about the work environment, the office space, the perks, and anything that would make work easier and more comfortable, allowing staff to focus on what is really important.
Set a clear and reachable career path:
Nothing is worse than feeling that, regardless of what you do, you are not moving forward in the organization. When employees do not see what the next step for them may be, they may start looking for that step outside the company. So, taking the time to set a career path and working on that regularly will definitely help your best talents feel that they are “moving” in the direction they would like to.
Change is inevitable, as we already said, and there are many external factors that may cause an employee to look for a new job. But, as in Lionel Messi’s case, it is a company’s responsibility to provide an environment where people wish to stay and feel that they are being valued and recognized.