Why Talent Walks

When I describe my job as a recruiter to people outside the advertising industry, one of the most common questions is: “Wow, people leave their jobs that frequently?” Yes, yes they do. The average job tenure in advertising is somewhere between a nanosecond and 18 months.  Why is that? What could we do better as bosses and companies to retain our most prized talent?

I read a December 2011 Forbes article on this topic: Top Ten Reasons Why Large Companies Fail to Keep Their Best Talent. Below are the ten reasons, plus where I perceive the biggest opportunities are to impact employee retention.  You can read the full article by clicking on the link.

Top Ten Reasons People Leave

  1. Bureaucracy
  2. No Access to Projects that Ignite Their Passion
  3. Poor Annual Performance Reviews
  4. No Discussion About Career Development
  5. Shifting Strategic Priorities
  6. Lack of Accountability and/or Micro-Management
  7. Absence of Strong Talent
  8. Missing Company Vision
  9. Lack of Open-Mindedness
  10. Problem Boss

How to Keep Talent Engaged

Above we have a comprehensive list of why good people bleed out of companies. Some are easy fixes, and others – like Missing Vision or Shifting Strategic Priorities – are larger ships to turn. Let’s focus on the quick wins that we can implement today as both managers and employees, which will promote professional development and increase staying power.

Three of these reasons – Failure to Ignite Their Passion, Poor Performance Reviews and No Discussion Around Career Development – all point to the same underlying problem. That Great Big Problem is the #1 reason employees start a dialogue with recruiters like me. It’s the reason they give for embarking on a job search or deciding against it. Want to know the biggest problem is affecting employee retention?

Failure to Articulate a Meaningful Future

There I said it. If team members aren’t able to envision their future with the company, what opportunities lie ahead for them and the path to get there, why should they stay?

It’s an easy fix. First, every one of us must be able to describe our career goals and a realistic timeframe for achieving them. What are we passionate about and good at? What makes it worth coming to work every morning? What would we like to be doing more of?

Second, we need to regularly assess if our current path supports these growth goals, and if not, how can we get on the right course?

Third, we need to share that vision with our supervisors, staff and anyone else who will listen. Not once a year at annual reviews. Not before we quit. Informally on an ongoing basis and more formally at the end of each quarter.

Both managers and team members must agree to come to the table with ideas and solutions, acknowledge what’s realistic and how they can demonstrate progress against these goals.

Learn more about the exercise of Career Pathing

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