How to Keep Your Top Talent From Walking Out the Door

Dec 26, 2019

To learn more, please join us on Tuesday January 21st at 1:00 EST (10:00 PST) for a Live Webinar with Silver Rose (How to Keep Your Top Talent From Walking Out the Door) This webinar is valid for 1 PDC toward SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP recertification and has been pre-approved by HRCI for 1 HR (General) recertification credit hour. Click here to learn more.


How many millions of dollars have been spent by organizations trying to retain the best of the best? Is it working in your company? While benefits and perks go a long way to keeping you competitive, in the end retention almost always boils down to employee engagement and that ALWAYS boils down to the individual’s immediate supervisor. I prefer the word “leader” to “supervisor” or “manager” but calling someone a leader doesn’t mean that she fills those shoes.

There have been entire books written about retention. I myself have devoted many blogs and live programs to the critically important roles that both good delegation and solid feedback play in keeping employees engaged and wanting to stay.

Today I want to focus on one important aspect of keeping your top talent from walking out the door. You may consider it to be management heresy but I call it the 80/20 Rule of Good Leadership.

If you want to retain your top talent you must demonstrate to your team that performance counts. To accomplish this, it is imperative that you devote 80% of your leadership time to your top performers and only 20% to those who aren’t making the grade.

It’s counter-intuitive, isn’t it?

Not when you consider that you cannot teach someone something he doesn’t want to learn. Your low performers have undoubtedly been given many opportunities to improve. Maybe you have mentored them, sent them to classes and/or spent time putting them on performance improvement plans. All of that is required to give them the best opportunity to deliver the outcomes you need.

If, however, they are taking up the bulk of your attention at the expense of time spent with your top performers, it’s a recipe for trouble.


Your top performers have a much more significant impact on productivity levels

You would think that getting low performers to increase their results would improve productivity and the bottom line and it will—a little. Conversely, getting your top performers to increase their results will improve the bottom line—a lot!

Your top performers don’t need attention to do their jobs; you can almost always depend on them to get the job done under all circumstances. However, If you continually demonstrate that the way to get attention in your organization is to be a low performer, they are much more likely to walk out the door. Existing jobs cannot compete with the allure of new promises from other companies unless your employees feel appreciated for the talent, skill and knowledge they bring to the table each day.


Silver Rose, CSC is an Employee Engagement Thought Leader who provides organizations with strategies for: (1) re-energizing employees; (2) increasing profitability; and (3) freeing leadership from the necessity of micro-managing results. Author of four books, her most recent is The (Incredibly Useful) Book of Delegation – How to Delegate So It Gets Done Correctly the First Time. This article originally appeared on her blog here.

Written by: Silver Rose

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