Why do top performers leave their current jobs? Can you predict turnover? As it turns out, research shows you can.
We interview thousands of people every year. And as I go through the candidate interview notes, certain themes emerge again and again. There are four factors that predict employee turnover and I’ve posted them over at The Washington Business Journal.
Client emails me and says “Hey, I want to offer the job to Kathy, but I only have her salary on her past two jobs, can you get her salary from the company before that? That would be helpful to arrive at a fair compensation package for both her and us.”
Sounds pretty reasonable, right?
Except it’s not the right way to set salary.
If my client wants to retain Kathy, her past salary is irrelevant – the only factor that matters is market rate. And in this search, all the other qualified candidates were within 5% of each other in total compensation–that’s market rate. (Here is more information about how to calculate it).
If you want to attract and retain good people, take your nose out of the salary surveys, ignore individual salary histories, don’t go into an excel-spreadsheet-trance with your budget, and pay at least fair market rate. Because what Kathy earned in 2005 will not help you retain her when your competitors come calling.
I’ve long said that the key to retaining great employees is to make them more marketable. Top performers always want jobs where they can make an impact, learn new skills, and raise their professional profile. What that opportunity is denied, they quit to go find it elsewhere. So if you want to keep great people, just accept the counter-intuitive wisdom of it, and keep making your people more marketable.
But Mike Figliuolo recently took that a step further. He argues that the best way for a manager to build a team full of top people is to not only make people more marketable, but to actively market them. He thinks your best recruitment strategy is to be a “net exporter of talent” and here is his logic:
Take a look at your team. Who are you clinging to when you should be letting them go? Who needs to move on so they can grow somewhere else? How are you helping them do that?
Export some talent. They’ll appreciate it and always be grateful. And once you start exporting, remember there are five people out there waiting to take the spot you just created. You then have a new crop of talent to grow and eventually export.
Some people dismiss employee engagement research as ”too fuzzy.” Not me. We have successfully integrated key principles of employee engagement research into our recruiting process. I know it works. And naturally, as a headhunter, I’m also fascinated with how people make decisions, so I devour research on the neuroscience of decision-making.
So when Scott Campbell used neuroscience research to validate the key findings from one of my favorite books on employee engagement, it was chocolate and peanut butter for me. Do yourself a favor and read Scott’s post on Leader’s Beacon. Here is a quick snapshot of his argument:
“Different (employee engagement) research organizations classify their findings in different ways. David Sirota’s formulation is a simple and useful model. His research suggests that there are three factors that, together, create strong engagement: the employee’s sense of (1) fair treatment, (2) achievement, and (3) camaraderie.[i]
Neuroscience has been making remarkable progress in helping us understand the workings of our mind and illuminating central truths about human nature. In some cases, the findings confirm the validity of existing leadership and organizational practices; in other cases it is turning them upside down. In this case, it confirms that Sirota’s three factors are real, universal, and fundamental in fostering a strong level of engagement in employees.”
David Sirota’s book, ”The Enthusiastic Employee“ - is probably the most important book on HR that nobody has ever read. That’s unfortunate because the authors really did their homework. Over a decade, Sirota Consulting surveyed 2.5 million employees who worked for 237 organizations in 89 different countries. If you want to know why your new hires just aren’t that into you anymore, read the book (or at least read my blog post about it).
And now, coming from a completely different perspective, neuroscience is backing up Sirota’s findings. Delicious.