Category: Posts

Focusing on Employee Strengths

Research from Gallup on employee strengths included a study that looked at 49,495 business units encompassing 1.2 million employees, across seven industries and 22 countries.   What the research found was that when a company focused on employee strengths – the following metrics increased:

  • 10%-19% increase in sales
  • 14%-29% increase in profit
  • 3%-7% increase in customer engagement
  • 9%-15% increase in engaged employees
  • 6- to 16-point decrease in turnover (in low-turnover organizations)
  • 26- to 72-point decrease in turnover (in high-turnover organizations)
  • 22%-59% decrease in safety incidents

From this study, we can deduce that:

  • Employee strengths have bottom-line implications

How does one focus on employee strengths?

Most often the problem resides in the fact that senior leaders typically don’t care about people issues. They are most likely concerned about revenue streams.  It is therefore critical for managers to identify the potential to increase revenue streams by concentrating on employee strengths.

What if managers kept charts like this?


This may be another chart that the manager will need to track and monitor, but the benefits far outweigh the time spent doing this.  It’s alarming to consider that 68 percent of managers don’t care about their employees’ career progression and that only 34 percent of managers can name two strengths of their direct reports.  The chart above could be a simple start for many. I’d estimate it’d take about 10-12 minutes per employee to fill this out. Let’s say you have 10 direct reports and do this every two weeks, that’s 240 minutes a month (about 4 hours).

The psychology of the employee strengths problem

Our brain is wired to predict threats.  When you say “employee strengths,” you acknowledge that someone that reports into you has strengths. To many managers, that can be seen as a threat.  It requires a boss with a high degree of self awareness to focus on employee strengths.  Work needs to be about more than protecting your perch and getting the most for yourself. At some level, it needs to be about the employee strengths on your team.


(Adapted from article written by Rich DeMatteo on July 8, 2016)

There are many organisations who are using employee engagement to help increase their ROI and improve their bottom line. There are several strategies that can be implemented to improve engagement in the workplace — and a good deal of them now involve Gamification.

What is Gamification?

Many people confuse the term “gamification” with the act of playing a game.  This is not entirely accurate.  Although gamification employs gaming concepts, it is a tool that is used to drive engagement and enhance performance. The reason employee gamification works so well is because it is derived from learned behaviors and skills developed through childhood games.

The same underlying motivations, performance analysis and rewards make up the basis of today’s sophisticated gamification applications. For example, employees might be set up to win prizes for accomplishing specific goals or even compete with one another to secure the reward in question.  These methods have been found to be incredibly effective.

Gamification in the workplace essentially revolves around giving employees a better job experience and increasing retention and productivity.

Types of Employee Gamification

There are numerous ways to implement gamification in the workplace, and the ideal option will vary according to your specific business goals. For the sake of simplicity, we’ve organized the gamification types into three different categories:

  1. Progress Measurement

The ability to view your progress as you complete tasks and activities can be highly motivating. In gamification, progress may be measured through points, badges or even rewards.

  1. Social Motivation

Encouraging team collaboration and competition is another element of workplace gamification. This can be an exceptionally powerful way to increase workplace communication, productivity and even retention.

  1. Customized Gamification Apps

In some cases, businesses choose to implement entire processes that are built on gamification concepts. This type of immersive employee gamification is not the most common, but it can produce astounding results in the right setting.

The Benefits of Gamification

Employee gamification is currently being used in a variety of ways and produces a number of different benefits. A few of them include:

  • Increasing employee engagement
  • Improving productivity and retention
  • Boosting morale
  • Promoting team collaboration
  • Turning employees into brand ambassadors
  • Improving the learning process with enhanced training programs
  • Promoting desirable employee behavior

Gamification software is becoming more and more ingrained in the workplace and also becoming integrated into existing business tools. And organizations that use employee gamification are reaping the benefits of a highly engaged and productive workforce.

What NOT to do when quitting your job

What NOT to do when quitting your job.  (Adapted by article written by:  Lindsay Olson)

Even if you’ve fantasized about quitting in a dramatic fashion, you must know it’s not a good idea, right? As much as you’d like to tell your boss to stick it you-know-where, you’d be better off leaving your job with a sense of professionalism. So here’s what you absolutely SHOULD NOT do when quitting your job.

  1. Leave a mess.

Although you’d love to leave that stack of reports unfinished and make them someone else’s responsibility, realize how disrespectful it would be. And while it may be your boss that you hate, it might end up being your closest co-worker who gets saddled with your undone work.

Instead: When you put in your notice, do your best to finish your remaining work, and leave instructions for your replacement on what needs to be tied up.

  1. Burn bridges.

Resist unleashing your fury on your boss and co-workers. As much as you would love to believe you’ll never need any of them, you may cross paths again. And that person you let have it might be in a position to hire you at another company down the road.

Instead: Keep your frustrations to yourself, and leave on good terms. You should be able to get a reference when you leave, and your boss should be willing to refer you to another employer.

  1. Walk out.

Walking out the minute you quit makes you look juvenile, and that won’t help you get a recommendation for your next job.

Instead: It’s common courtesy to give two weeks’ to a months’ notice, so that he has time to find your replacement.

  1. Talk about the company.

Once you leave, don’t start talking negatively to others about the company. Remember that it was specific people you had an issue with, not the company as a whole. This is especially important in future job interviews. If you speak ill of your last company, this hiring manager will wonder if you’d do the same if you were unhappy in the position for which she’s hiring.

Instead: Find a politically correct way to explain why you left, and keep the emotions out of it.

  1. Start telling co-workers how you feel

If you’ve been harboring deep resentment about a co-worker, don’t use your quitting as the ideal time to tell her how you really feel. You’ll just hurt her feelings unnecessarily.

Instead: Go with the mantra: “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.”

  1. Take your vacation at the end of your two weeks.

If you’ve got vacation time racked up, don’t do that bit where you put in your two weeks, then put in a request for two weeks’ worth of vacation.

Instead: If you know you’re going to quit, take your vacation long before you put in your notice.

Tips / Advice

  • Before you quit, make sure it’s the right decision.
  • Many of us have to suffer through bad work situations or overbearing bosses, but most of these situations are tolerable, at least until you have a new job secured.
  • Never quit out of anger.
  • Make it a deliberate plan, and do it when you can calmly explain to your boss your reason for leaving.
  1. Take Them Away From the Work Environment

Attend a team-building exercise away from the office environment.  Keep the activity light hearted and fun.  Team building exercises allows staff and managers to get to know each other better outside of work projects and often creates excitement about working together on a new project. Plus, just not thinking about work responsibilities helps minds get recharged and ready to take on more.

  1. Do Not Skimp on Time Off

Push your employees to take the required time off, even when they don’t think they need a vacation.

  1. Hold 30-Day Challenges

These challenges can be “un-work” related.  For instance:  To encourage some exercise, start a 3km, 30-day running challenge. Every day each employee tries to run at least 3km, and possibly more. At the end of 30 days collect all of the data to see who ran the most, and do something fun for them.

  1. Declare a Three-Day weekend

Everyone loves three-day weekends!  They give you a chance to get away, watch TV, basically do whatever you want. After a period of intense work, schedule a break where you explicitly tell everyone not to work. This announcement is most effective on a Monday. Ask the team to push hard for four more days, then rest. The pace will pick up, then the recharge happens.

  1. Set Realistic Goals

There is nothing more frustrating than feeling like you are overworked. Try to make sure your team is never assigned more work than they can realistically do in a day. Also encourage everyone to openly communicate when they won’t be able to meet a work goal before it sets them behind on a project.

  1. Work Remotely

Breaking away from the mundane every day office environment is highly refreshing.  Allow employees to work from home or a coffee shop for half / full day.

  1. Hold Sporadic Adventures, Surprises and Fun Events

Some people dread the thought of going into work each day as it’s usually the same mundane schedule with minimal change ever happening. By introducing sporadic adventures, surprises and fun events at your workplace, your team will always be on the up and up and thinking about when the next one may occur. These type of activities can also be used for group building skills.

  1. Make Your Culture a 9-to-5 Culture

During most interviews, employees are told:  “this isn’t a 9-to-5” type of job.   But has hiring managers ever considered what the marginal productivity of the 10th hour of work is? For most people, not much. Yes, sometimes deadlines come up and people need to stay late, but it shouldn’t be the norm.  And when the extra working hours are required, be sure to acknowledge the commitment and reward accordingly.

  1. Get a Change of Scenery

A change of scenery is good for anyone. Do offsite meetings to regroup on important topics.

  1. Explain the Bigger Picture

Allow employees to become involved in future work.  By relaying the bigger picture allows employees to  gain an understanding of when projects will end/begin, which in turn recharges them.

In most cases candidates are ignorant as to what a recruiter’s job entails and how the recruitment industry works.  So often their communication to recruitment consultants comes across as irritating or sometimes just plain rude.

One consultant stated the following on LinkedIn – and these sentiments are felt by the majority of recruiters:

“I’m getting tired of candidates sending me their friend’s resumes; I’m also getting tired of receiving unsolicited resumes through LinkedIn and people who come to my web site. When I’m recruiting, a resume is only worth something if I have a search that aligns with the candidate it represents. I don’t really care whose looking for work when I’m recruiting; I care whose looking for talent. Seems harsh but it’s true. I care about helping people, but I need to make a living too.”
Here follows some tips to assist you in dealing professionally with a recruitment consultant:

  1. Don’t ask recruiters to meet with you out of the blue.

Ask yourself:  Why would a recruiter want to meet you? Are you a candidate for a role he or she has posted?  Do you have potential clients for them? What is your value proposition? If you would like to meet with a recruitment consultant, be prepared to offer something of value.

  1. Don’t send unsolicited CVs.

Unsolicited CVs get deleted.  There is absolutely NOTHING we can do for you as recruiters unless we have a suitable vacancy on our job board.  Loading your CV onto our database is probably the best we can do – but even so, your CV will simply just sit there.

  1. Research the Job Details before Contacting a Recruiter

By contacting a recruiter randomly about “some” job you saw on their website is wasting not only the recruiter’s time, but also yours.  Recruiters will often be working several job specs at the same time, so without the specific job title or specification details, they will be unable to link you to a vacancy.  And we are quite good at determining whether a caller is “fishing” for any job opportunity and not actually calling about a specific role.

  1. Calling your Recruiter

If you want to stay in touch with a recruiter, don’t call every 2 weeks to find out “If you have anything for me”.  Once interviewed, you would be on the active database and be contacted should the recruiter feel they have a suitable match between your skills and experience and a job spec.  If your CV or circumstances were to change – sending an email is a much better option.  The recruiter will then have a written record thereof and be able to update your profile in his / her own time.  Have a look on their website instead as to what vacancies are listed.

5.  After Interviewing with a Client

Don’t call the recruiter often to find out if the client has reported back regarding an interview you attended.  The recruiter wants to place the job and will feedback to you once she has received feedback from the client.  Be patient.

The term Millennial refers to employees between the ages of 15 and 35.  There are currently 92 million millennial workers worldwide, as opposed to 61 Million Generation X  employees and 77 Million Baby Boomers.  The Millennial work force has its own unique career preferences and ambitions.

Here are 5 ways one can shape your business to make it more Millennial-Friendly and in doing so attract and retain your Millennial Talent:

  1. Offer competitive salary and growth opportunities

Millennials need to know that they are being fairly remunerated and that there are growth opportunities within the organization.  It is therefore important to give your young employees a reason to stick around.

“In a study by PWC on millennials in the work place,  44 percent of millennials polled noted competitive wages as a motivating factor to go with an employer, 52 percent cited growth opportunities. So if you want to make your company attractive to millennials, foster their ambition and drive.”

  1. Maintain transparency

Millennials grew up with technology, which has created a culture of transparency. Millennials therefore expect the company they work for to be upfront.   Announcing decisions without any explanation might leave this generation feeling uneasy. Millennials are more engaged and committed when management shares why decisions are made.

  1. Ditch the hierarchy

If your company has a traditional hierarchy, try “flattening your organizational structure.”  By doing so, the Millennials will feel like they have a voice.  It’s important to highlight their accomplishments and let them know you value their insight, which will motivate them to go above and beyond for your business.

If millennials see people getting promoted over others based on longevity with the company over performance, it will almost certainly discourage them.  It’s important to help them better understand their overall career trajectory and to offer training.   According to Forbes, millennials don’t want to wait three to five years for a promotion, contrary to their baby boomer coworkers.

  1. Make sure millennials feel connected to the brand

Millennials are a great resource to strengthen your brand, but only if they believe in the overall message of the company. Having happy millennials in the workplace can lead to a boost in your company’s social media presence.Give your millennial employees a reason to share what your business is doing, and it can help you naturally boost your company’s social presence.

  1. Strengthen the company’s digital presence

The first thing your prospective millennial employees will do before an interview is Google the company. If your business is lacking in digital presence, millennials might be wary about applying. It could imply that the business is behind the times or unwilling to evolve. “Invest not only in how you engage clients and consumers online but prospective employees as well, so they have a strong understanding of your company’s mission and culture. According to Inc., 62-percent of millennials are more likely to become loyal to a company if they can engage with the brand on social media.


While meetings may be important opportunities for managers and staff to communicate, it seems that companies often don’t fully utilize them. A recent study found that around 40% of work time is spent in meetings, and around 25-50% of time is wasted, which means that, at worst, employees could be spending up to a day in ineffective meetings each week.

What they also found was a correlation between time spent in meetings and feelings of exhaustion and increased workload, which could be demotivational.  It’s not that we should throw out meetings, as the study found that 92 percent of employees value meetings as an opportunity for communication. Rather, it’s that meetings tend to be missed opportunities.

1. Make Them Shorter
Attendee attention levels begin to severely drop off after about 30 minutes, meaning people are getting bored. In the first 15 minutes employees are 91 percent attentive, and this drops to 64 percent attentiveness after 45 minutes. A simple way to reinvigorate your meetings is to keep them to 30 minutes maximum.

2. Chaired Agenda
Preparing and sticking to an agenda can seem quite constrictive for many a meeting leader, who may feel it cramps their style. However, studies found that most people find it frustrating when there is no chaired agenda. Make properly chaired agendas with action points/takeaways sacrosanct, and this will help boost meeting engagement levels.

3. Stand-Up Meetings
There are obvious health benefits to holding stand-up meetings instead of slumping in a chair for an hour, but standing up can also reinvigorate your meetings. Stand-up meetings are typically shorter — generally clocking in at about 15 minutes — so they operate within the prime 91 percent attention level. This keeps the meeting focused, and it can help to eradicate distractions.

4. Change the Location
Have you heard of the phenomenon known as Sick Building Syndrome, where people have sick symptoms related to a workplace, but no identifiable cause? These symptoms include aches and pains, fatigue, and poor concentration, none of which will be conducive to your meetings. Once the SBS sufferers leave the building or room, the symptoms disapear. Why not change your meeting location from time to time. Perhaps hold a meeting outside if it’s a sunny day, or at the canteen, a local coffee shop, or any place that’s a little different from the norm to beat SBS and reinvigorate a stale meeting environment.

5. Add Some Humor to Your Meetings
One of the best ways to liven up a dull meeting is to inject some genuine fun, levity, and humor. Try and set a fun, lighthearted tone at the beginning of the meeting, and encourage funny employees. Their jokes can help to reduce tension and add some levity to dire proceedings, making the whole meeting more fun. Those kind of employees can lift environments and meetings with a joke, and they are a gift to your meeting.

Adapted and taken from:  The Daily Muse Editor.  You can follow them on:  Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

You put so much thought into what should go on your resume—from your best, most impressive accomplishments down to the perfect, classy-but-modern font.  But to make sure all that effort is put to good use, it’s just as important to pay attention to what shouldn’t be on there. From overused buzzwords that make you look just like everyone else to “creative” touches that do more harm than good, there are plenty of resume elements that annoy—and even turn off—recruiters. And because we want your resume at the top of the pile, we’ve pulled them all together in one complete guide.

For the best chances of landing that interview, grab your resume and make sure it’s free and clear of these 45 things.

1. A Career Objective: That boring boilerplate “I am a hard working professional who wants to work in [blank] industry” is a bit obvious—why else would you be submitting your resume?—and takes up valuable space. Instead? Make it crystal clear why you’re so interested in each specific position you’re applying to in your cover letter.

2. A Skills-Based Format: Current recruiter wisdom says to stick with the good old reverse chronological (where your most recent experience is listed first) in almost every occasion. If your most recent experience isn’t what you want to highlight or you’re re-entering the workforce after a long hiatus, top your resume with an “Executive Summary” section that outlines your best skills and accomplishments, or create two experience sections: One specific one, such as “Business Development Experience” or “Editorial Experience,” followed by a more general one.

3. Photos or Other Visuals: A recent study showed that “such visual elements reduced recruiters’ analytical capability and hampered decision-making” and kept them from “locating the most relevant information, like skills and experience.”

4. Mega Blocks of Text: Studies show that recruiters look at resumes pretty quickly—a minute at best, the blink of an eye at worst—so your goal is to make yours as easy to skim as possible. That means keeping your text short and sweet, and in bullet points, not block text.

5. A Second Page: If you have less than 10 years of experience, having more than one page can be a deal-breaker for some recruiters. So why risk it? And with a little formatting prowess, we promise you can get it down to one page.

6. All Those Fonts: Stick with one—maybe two, if you have some design skills. Any more than that and you risk the hiring manager getting distracted.

7. Orphan Words: (They’re those single words left on a line by themselves.) Instead, see how you can edit the previous line so they can fit—making your resume look cleaner and opening up extra lines for you to fill with other things.

8. “References Available Upon Request:” At worst, it makes you look presumptuous, and even at best, you can use the extra space to add a detail about your abilities or accomplishments.

Personal Details
9. Your Address: If you’re not local, recruiters might not look any further. And if you are? Recruiters may take your commute time into account and turn you down if they think it would be too long, explains AvidCareerist.

10. Your Work Email Address: (And, yes, we see it happen all the time.) Do you really want your future employer to know that you’re job searching on your employer boss’ time and email server?

11. Your “Creative” Email Address: (And yes, we see this happen, too.) “I can’t actually share any here without giving away someone’s personal contact info,” says Ryan Galloway of The Hired Guns. “I will say, however, that if you’re a grown person applying for a Director of Marketing gig, the word “Belieber” has no place in your email address.”

12. Your “Creative” Hobbies: As recruiter Jenny Foss of JobJenny puts it, “Unless you are applying for jobs that will specifically value these interests (or they’re flat-out amazing conversation starters), leave them off. Decision makers will judge the heck out of you if they spot hobbies that fly in the face of their own personal beliefs or seem odd.”

13. Your Birthdate, Marital Status, or Religion: Since it’s illegal for employers to consider this when looking at your application (at least in the U.S.), they can’t request it (and offering it makes you look a little clueless).

Work Experience and Education
14. A Regurgitation of Your Job Description: In most cases, recruiters care less about what you did day to day (like answer phones and email) and more about what you accomplished over time (like increased customer satisfaction 20%). Here are a few tips for turning your duties into accomplishments.

15. Bullet #8: As a rule, stick to just 6-7 bullets for each section—even if each accomplishment is seriously killer, the recruiter’s probably not going to get through them all.

16. Positions Irrelevant to Your Current Job Goals: Unless you need it to fill a gap on your resume or showcase your skills, there’s no law that says you have to include your six months at Burger Shack on your resume.

17. “Unpaid:” Who needs to know whether your internship was paid or not? If you got great experience, let that stand on its own.

18. Your Parenting Experience: If you took time out of the workforce to raise kids, don’t list your parenting experience on your resume, à la “adeptly managed the growing pile of laundry” (we’ve seen it). “While parenting is as demanding and intense a job as any out there, most corporate decision makers aren’t going to take this section of your resume seriously,” says Foss.

19. Your GPA: Unless you’re applying to a management consulting job, or you’re coming straight out of college (and it’s amazing). Even then, it might be better to simply include any academic accolades (like graduating summa cum laude) than the actual number.

20. Your Graduation Year: Recruiters only really want to know that you got a degree, and you don’t want them to inadvertently discriminate based on your age.

21. Anything High School-Related: Unless you’re a year out of college, really need to bulk up your resume, and did something highly relevant (and awesome) during your high school years, no need to include it on your resume.

22. Skills That Everyone Has (or Should): Think Microsoft Word and “the internet.”

Specific Words
23. Unnecessarily Big Words: Why “utilize” when you can “use?” especially when the former takes up more precious space on your resume. “Run the ‘would I ever say this in real life?’ test on every phrase and sentence in your resume,” says Foss. “If you find words or statements that don’t read like something you’d say? Change ’em up.”

24. Industry Jargon or Buzzwords: You might know what GIA requests are, but the executive, assistant, or even recruiter first reading your resume might not. Make sure everything you include is understandable to the average person.

25. Words With a Negative Connotation: Even if you mean them in a positive way, like “met aggressive sales goals,” research has shown that words like problem, mistake, and fault can have a negative impact on a recruiter’s perception of you.

26. Vague Terms: (Think professional, experienced, and people person.) They’re chronically overused, and we bet there’s a better way to describe how awesome you are. (Need help? Here are a few great cliché-free ways to show off your soft skills.)

27. Any of the Words in CareerBuilder’s Survey of Resume Words Recruiters Hate: Seriously, why annoy them right out of the gate? The list is topped with “Best of breed,” and followed by:

28. Go-getter

29. Think Outside of the Box

30. Synergy

31. Go-to Person

32. Thought Leadership

33. Value Add

34. Results Driven

35. Team Player

36. Bottom Line

37. Hard Worker

38. Strategic Thinker

39. Dynamic

40. Self Motivated

41. Detail-oriented

42. Proactively

43. Track Record

And OK, Because We Had To
44. Typos: But don’t rely on spell check and grammar check alone—ask family or friends to take a look at it for you (or get some tips on how to edit your own work).

45. Anything That’s Not True: Just, don’t. If you’re not sure you have the experience to qualify for your dream gig, don’t manufacture it—go look for ways to get it.

Succession Planning

Why do we need succession planning?Successplanning
In most cases we need succession planning to ensure that the business can continue to function optimally with the right people, with the right skills and at the right time.
Succession Planning can be a bit of an art – if it is carried out effectively. Ideally, it should be a business focused, fair, open and transparent process. If not, it will most likely cause distrust and suspicion amongst your employees.

Succession Planning vs Contingency Plan
The practice of identifying an employee to replace someone who is leaving or is ready for retirement, is not succession planning. This is a contingency plan. The difference between contingency plans and succession planning is that succession planning is about helping people develop and be in the right place at the right time for existing roles, or developing roles. Good succession planning should be about bringing in a range of talent, either in or outside of the organisation, and it should be fair and open.

The start of a Succession Plan
Before you begin succession planning, you need to have an ethos. Now that ethos will differ depending upon the business you are in. If you are in a corporation or a public sector organisation, you might want to have a policy of growing your talent within. If you are a business on the move, you might want to look at bringing in new talent with new and evolving skills. Or you might have a combination of these approaches.

Top Tips to successfully implement a Succession Plan:
1. Be clear about why you want to introduce succession planning.
• Is it to recruit new and evolving talent?
• Is it to develop new leaders/managers/specialists for the future?

2. Be open about why you want to introduce succession planning with your current workforce.

3. Be clear with your current employees about your rationale and let them see the possibilities for them. If there aren’t possibilities for them, then be clear about that, but let them know why.

4. Be clear about the difference between contingency planning and succession planning.

5. If you have a list in a drawer with names, and the people who are named don’t know they are on there, then you might want to think about how helpful or not this is.

6. If you have a list of names, and it is to replace specialist jobs and no-one but the named persons know they are on the list, then again you might want to think about your strategy.

7. Be clear about the criteria you are going to apply to any succession planning exercise and communicate it widely.

8. Be structured. Make sure that you and everyone knows how it is going to work and what they can expect. Align other employee lifecycle events with the succession plan where needed.

9. Be open to attracting talent from everywhere. There may be someone in your current workforce, who might not be displaying the characteristics for future job filling now, but with an open invitation, they might just go for it.

10. If you decide the future is through a graduate scheme, try to make it accessible for existing workers, or have a route through for existing workers. There is nothing more annoying than being great and going the extra mile, doing the duties of higher level jobs and being told that you can’t compete because you have to have a degree.

11. If you want to source talent from within, then tie your succession planning to your appraisal/feedback scheme. It is the easiest way to have those conversations and help people work in a way that helps them aim for different roles.

12. If employees think they can progress in their own company, then they can be more likely to stay. Chart out career pathways for your staff so that they can plan for the future.

13. If your succession plan includes attracting talent from outside the organisation, make sure you have tapped the potential within first.

The following article was written by John Murphy.  He is the founder of John Murphy International, a specialist online coaching business. John specializes in advising and mentoring entrepreneurs and senior executives on how to build their business and be effective as a leader and manager.


“You have a red hot performer, she is excelling at all the key performance indicators, loved by your clients – WOW!
So, what is the problem?

The problem, as often articulated to me is, that you are afraid of losing her. You cannot pay anymore, you are afraid your competitors are buttering her up. So, what do you do?

The reality is we have all been there. We have hired well, the candidate has proven to be successful and has delivered in bucket loads. She is at the maximum earning power and we get terrified that she will start looking elsewhere.
You are desperate to hold on to her. She is everything you want – bright, successful, dynamic and clients love her!
The mistake I have seen many make is to leave her to her own devices – “she is doing great, she doesn’t need any coaching, she is a free spirit (etc)”. That attitude normally has one outcome – she leaves!

So, how do you motivate your star performers to stay with you?

Firstly, you don’t avoid the obvious and not address it with her. Spend time with her, let her know how important she is to you. Tell her why you want her to stay and how important she is to the business. And, above all, acknowledge to her that other opportunities with your competitors will arise for her. Don’t be silly and pretend it is not the case – you know it and so does she!

Spend time coaching her to develop new skills, learn new techniques, expand her knowledge, and share the experiences you have had.

However, do not make promises you cannot fulfill. Don’t fall into the trap of promising more money at some time in the future because:
1. you are making it all come down to money, which is dangerous, but, even worse:
2. you have made yourself a hostage to fortune and if you cannot deliver, you have left the door wide open as now you are someone who does not keep their promises.

Keep in mind – people don’t leave organizations, they leave managers. That, fellow employers, is not one of those cute one-liners – it is an absolute fact and there is a load of research to back it up.

The managers who do not accept this, I am convinced, do so because to believe otherwise would demand of them to completely fulfill all aspects of their role as managers.

Support the development of their career:
Another area to really commit to is supporting her in the development of her own career. You should make it clear that you are not expecting her to sign up to the organization for the rest of her life – after all, have you? Demonstrate that part of your commitment to her is to help her achieve her goals – irrespective of whether those goals include staying where she is or not.

Show her that you care and are interested in her. Demonstrate how valuable you are as a mentor in her career. Work with her to map out the next couple of years – what she needs to do, to learn, to study, to experience, everything she needs to do to achieve her overall career goals.
I have seen managers stand off doing this on the basis of “I’m helping her to leave”. That is nonsense. You are demonstrating real care, fulfilling your duty as a manager and being the mentor that you promised when you took her on. The managers that stand out in all our memories are the ones that you learned most from, and if you fulfill that role, you will be a true mentor.

Coach your star performers:

The other area I mentioned earlier is coaching. Far too often I have seen managers spend an inordinate amount of time on poor performers to the detriment of the top performers – and then rationalize it on the basis that “they are doing fine” – big mistake! So often the high achievers will never, ever say they want coaching, but in reality, they do! They get irritated that the “boss gives all his time to those producing nothing, and ignores me who is producing so much” (maybe not in those words, but the sense of it will be). Don’t get caught out – continuously coach your high performers!

So, the challenge is to all us managers – be outstanding! Be a brilliant and committed manager and spend time dedicated to improving the skills and the growth of your best people. They need you too!
Look for opportunities where she can shine. Coach her to support and help her to map out some long-term career goals and then do everything you can to create the environment that will help her achieve them.
Remember, this is one smart lady and she will recognize she is growing and developing, and she will also recognize that you are committed to her growth.
Will this guarantee that she stays with you forever? No, but you have certainly increased the odds in your favor. I know that I was once in that situation, and because of the manager I had, and how he coached me, I stayed a lot longer than I would have without him!
So, what are you going to do today for your star performer?

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