July '18

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164 • RV PRO • July 2018 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S I t's a nightmare scenario for any business: A star employee suddenly decides to jump ship for the com- petition. Out the door goes years of experience, in-depth knowledge of the industry, and even a good number of hard-won customer connections. It's that last part – with its costly ramifications – that can cause the most immediate damage. "Customers will often follow a departing employee out the door to his or her new employer," says Richard Avdoian, an employee development consultant with the Mid- west Business Institute in St. Louis. "People like to stay with employees they trust." Longer range, the ghosting of a top-performing employee cancels any plans for grooming that person for a management role. "When you lose your best employees, you lose not only their skills, but also their leadership potential," says David Dye, president of Let's Grow Leaders, a management consulting firm in Wash- ington, D.C. Tight Market Expect more star employees to seek greener pastures in the months ahead – and fewer quality replacement prospects, according to consultants interviewed for this article. With the nation's unemployment level hovering around 4 percent, most economists believe the labor market has reached a condition of full employment. As top-quality talent grows scarce, rival regional employers will try harder than ever to lure away companies' best people, according to Dye. "When demand for personnel is high and supply is low, people have more choices for where to work," he says. "Employers have greater difficulty retaining the best performers, and the value rises for those individuals' work skills." In rural areas especially, where employers reside far from large cities with concentrated pools of talent, quality employees come at a premium, experts interviewed for this article say. Meanwhile, people who perform the best in the workplace tend to suffer the most from wandering eyes. A survey by SAP and Oxford Economics, published in The Harvard Business Review ("What High Performers Want at Work," by Karie Willyerd. Nov. 18, 2014) found less than half of high-performers were satisfied with their current duties. The article found that one in five is likely to seek a greener pasture in the next six months. "Top performers are often less than content with their jobs," Avdoian says. "Many want to further their careers by moving on to more promising positions." Spot the Stars So, how do employers keep their best people from jumping ship? The first step is to make sure they focus on their brightest stars, according to Avdoian, who suggests looking at their employment pool as a complex of three classes of workers on an escalating scale of value: slackers, foundationals, and high achievers. Slackers are easy to spot: They do the bare minimum to collect their paychecks. Foundational employees, in contrast, In a tight labor market, employers must take steps to avoid the loss of their top-performing employees. Steps can include providing performance feedback, allowing employee sufficient autonomy and considering pay for performance models. By Phillip M. Perry How to Keep Your 'A' Players

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