Here’s a scenario that plays out far too often in our organizations. A resignation letter lands on your desk, and you’re surprised: a top performer is leaving.
Wait, what? All this time you thought they were happy, doing great work, here for the long haul. They’re paid well, advancing in your organization, so what gives?
Well, dear leader, you’re losing them because you’ve failed to invest in developing them, and now you’re paying the price.
How do we stop this scenario from playing out on our teams? If you’re lucky enough to have top performers what can you do for them?
In this episode, I share how we can start investing in our best.
If you don’t have the time to develop top performers, then you really won’t have time left at the end of the day if they leave. - Jen Thornton
[00:00:00] Have you ever been the top performer who received zero developments from your leader? Well, don't be that type of leader to others. Welcome back, friends. This is your place for cutting edge tools, exercises, best practices, and modern leadership strategies. Because when the world is changing, it's time to bring our leadership.
[00:00:23] Styles along for the ride. Whether you're a company leader, a corporate visionary, an entrepreneur, this show gives you new insights into the neuroscience and the language of leadership, plus practical steps and tips to lead your team in a powerful way. They'll also help you keep your people happy and engaged all while achieving your biggest goals.
[00:00:44] I'm your host Jen Thornton. I'm a talent strategist, a brain-based executive coach. Speaker and the founder of 304 coaching. Now let's fix leadership. We have seen it a million times. The top performers just keep keeping on with a high level of performance until one day the company is surprised when they give notice out of nowhere.
[00:01:09] So why does this keep happening? I'm sure every leader who has done this to a top performer has their reasons, but let's speculate together today. Maybe they don't think it's necessary. They may believe that their top performers are already motivated and engaged, so they don't need to invest any additional resources to them.
[00:01:30] They may believe that they don't have the budget, and I have news for those leaders. If you don't have the budget to develop, you really don't have the budget to replace a top performer. Here's a fun fact. Did you know the cost of turnover for top performers in a specialized field can be four times that person's salary?
[00:01:52] So if you have someone that is in a highly specialized role, say, making 150 K a year, there is likely over a half a million dollar cost to the company. If that person leaves, they don't have the time and we can all agree everyone is busy and the leaders have to prioritize, but not prioritizing development creates more workload in the back end.
[00:02:16] It's similar to not finding the budget. If you don't have the time to invest in your top performers today. You really will have no time left in your day tomorrow when your best people leave. Maybe they don't have the skills to manage underperformers, so they use up all their energy trying to manage them and have nothing left to give those top performers.
[00:02:38] And what happens way too many times? The leader just doesn't know what to do for this person next. They run out of ideas on how to develop someone. Their bag of tricks is empty, and they don't think to ask for help from their peers or their supervisor. I think we all know the benefits of investing in our best, but if you're struggling to find the time to invest in your top players, Let me give you some motivation.
[00:03:05] Today, top performers are typically more productive and profitable than their peers. This is because they're more efficient. They make fewer mistakes and are more likely to come up with new ideas that can help the company grow with employees feel valued and supported. They're more likely to be engaged and productive investing in your top performers.
[00:03:29] Shows them that you appreciate their contributions are committed to their success, and we also know top performers are more likely to stay with the company. If they feel valued and supported. This is because they know they can continue to grow and develop in their roles. Reducing turnover can save you money on recruiting and training costs, and it can also help to maintain a strong team of employees who are familiar with your company's culture and processes.
[00:03:58] Top performers are often the ones who come up with your new ideas that can help your company grow by investing in them. You can encourage them to continue to innovate and come up with ways to improve your business. And for you as a leader, I have a feeling you'll find more enjoyment and purpose out of your role when your top performers are doing great things.
[00:04:20] Watching your team do things, make changes, grow the business, it is a lot of fun. Let's take a quick break from the conversation. Do you have new leaders on your team and you can see their potential, you can see their runway, but you can not figure out how to get them across the finish line, reach out to three or four coaching and learn more about our brain based competency focused executive coaching.
[00:04:49] So what now, if you're a leader lucky enough to have top performers on your team, what can you do for them? Some of these ideas require financial investment. But many of these are free and are just great leadership. So, first, reserve a yearly budget for continuous education. Top companies with some of the best engagement, also those who know it's better to invest in development over investing in turnover costs, they spend 2 to 5% of their annual budget on employee development.
[00:05:23] Involve your top performers on how to use the budget you've reserved for them. Too many times people are told how they will develop over getting to decide what they want to develop. Not only is it important to work on job related skills, transferable skills and learning those can be just as valuable.
[00:05:45] Create an environment of continuous feedback and peer to peer coaching. When feedback is consistent, it isn't weird or uncomfortable to give or receive it. What if you scheduled a monthly peer to peer coaching hour? How might that contribute to the team's development and their overall alignment? And just communicate clearly.
[00:06:07] Tell people specifically what you like about their performance and how it positively impacts the team or the organization or your business results. When people understand what they do well, they will naturally do more of it. Encourage your top performers to get to know cross functional leaders. Don't take the burden on 100% yourself.
[00:06:30] When cross functional leaders take interest in everyone's development, you can crowdsource the knowledge. And hey, you may learn a few things to invite your top performers to elevated conversations too often. We keep people in their lanes. What if we let people out of their lanes? Invite your best of the best to contribute to meetings they are typically not invited to.
[00:06:57] They will learn from the conversation and they are likely to have great insight because they bring a fresh perspective to the conversation. As a leader, please, please, please spend time with your top performers. A simple check in or a simple thank you goes a long way. Ask them if they feel value, and if not, what can you do to support their growth?
[00:07:22] Then listen to them and help them achieve their goals. Because when we are investing in our top performers consistently, we are fixing leadership.
[00:07:35] Thanks for listening to Let's Fix Leadership. By hanging out with me today, you're already on your path. If you're looking to learn more and to see if your company is a good fit for our coaching and leadership education, then hey, visit 304coaching. com. If you got value out of this podcast, share it with a friend, and it would mean the world to me if you would leave a thoughtful review and a rating on iTunes.
[00:07:57] Thanks again for listening, and I appreciate your work in fixing leadership.