11 Ways to Build a Team That Can Handle Losing Top Talent

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If you said “yes” to any of the above questions keep reading…

  • Have you ever lost a key employee?
  • Have you ever struggled to replace a key employee?
  • Have you ever been fearful of losing top talent in a tough year?
  • Have you ever wondered how your business would satisfy the growing financial needs of your staff?

Don’t be afraid of losing your top talent!

Many times the old adage, “when one door opens another closes” is true. Indeed, the new door allows you enter into a world of endless possibilities for positive change. I don’t dismiss how emotional things can get when you lose top talent or an employee that you have created a great bond with personally. I have had key staff leave me several times after being with me for several years, and in one case, without any notice at all. And regardless of the reasons for their departures, it would not have been prudent to let those departures affect how the remaining team was being managed during those moments. But I can say that I learned how to better build and manage my team over time. Please allow me to share a few of the lessons I learned so your company can operate with greater confidence, as mine does now.

Top 11 Ways to Build and Manage a Team with Maximum Confidence

  1. Always see your future as bigger than your past – No matter how bad the personal loss when a team member leaves, it is critical that you focus on how your business could be better through replacing them (new perspective, new insights, new talents, etc.) or through rebuilding the organization without filling the position left by their departure.
  2. Care for the emotional well-being of each person beyond the business – Too many times leaders focus primarily on addressing the financial needs and day-to-day demands of their staff. I challenge you to intentionally focus on ways to engage each team member at an emotional level and to encourage a balanced life at home and in the workplace. It is also important you keep an eye out for key team members that are overworking themselves simply because of their internal drive, not deadlines truly imposed by anyone else.
  3. Communicate to your team with a uniform message – Ensure all of your team understands why team members are leaving (regardless of firing or quitting) so the message is consistent. I feel this is best done through a company meeting such as a team lunch so the full message can be communicated and discussed.
  4. Create unique ways to maintain an open door policy – My firm has instituted things such as happiness lunches so each team member has face time with the owner or management. This gives them an opportunity to voice questions or concerns that might not otherwise be heard.
  5. Make sure the company financials are well balanced – I find many business owners or managers are being compensated at dramatically higher levels than most of their regular employees, inadvertently reinforcing the idea that management is taking advantage of and underpaying good talent (and if you don’t think your employees access to or have a good idea of what you make—think again). But don’t get me wrong–I’m not saying any business owner, partner or leader should limit their earning potential. I am simply saying that if you look at the entire payroll schedule, make sure you feel like you are either giving employees as much as the company can truly afford or make sure you feel your contribution to them is greater than your reward back, conceptually speaking.
  6. Never allow the desires of any one employee to influence your financial/strategic decisions – Too many business owners are afraid to lose that key team member who constantly places their financial needs on the table during reviews or discussion with management. I have found that it is wise to be ok with losing any one person that cares more about what they are compensated than about how the team as a whole can succeed.
  7. Build depth into your team in all areas possible – I have found, when possible, it is prudent to have redundancy at least two people deep in all areas of the company. I also like to make sure anyone I hire has more value than simply an ability to fulfill a role as advertised. This opens up the possibility that they could help you in new ways as the business changes, and gives the team greater confidence to weather a future staffing change.
  8. Make sure your hiring process is focused on core values first – Have a unique and intentional process that is built to ensure core values are the main measuring stick when hiring. Ask questions that dig deeper into who a candidate is as a person, in addition to their skills and experience. Care about what they stand for in life, as it is bound to affect not only their work performance, but how they fit within any team or organization.
  9. Offer the strongest benefits possible – Offering well-rounded and solid benefits to your staff—regardless of your business size—helps focus on stability and security for the team. I have found this to be a key retention factor, even when otherwise unable to offer higher, more competitive wages.
  10. Don’t allow any one client to represent more than 10% of your annual business – This is pretty straight forward, but I have often seen businesses become greatly impacted after losing a key account that makes up a substantial portion of their revenue. The loss of this type of client either forces an owner to let people go, or people jump ship of their own volition because their confidence in the firm and its future has been shaken.
  11. Focus on win-win transitions with staff, not burning bridges – I try to follow a policy of giving more transitional notice than typical, often between 30 to 120 days, depending upon the situation. This policy encourages employees to likewise give you extended notice in return, and to trust that you do care about each of them, even if you are forced to let one of them go. It is also important not to be emotional during this transition so you don’t burn a bridge. After all, you never know when you might need their help or if they might end up working for or speaking with a potential future client.

Current economic conditions have presented more reasons than ever to be self-employed, and many more reasons for talent to leave you. So don’t lead in fear, but build a team for the long-haul and be ready to weather any storm. I help my coaching clients focus on matters like these so they can see their business become more efficient, profitable and scalable, if desired. I also help them achieve better balance professionally and personally so they can see their business truly work to support their life purpose and vision. If you want to find out more about how this could be leveraged in your world, or if you want to discuss a business problem you are facing, feel free to contact me or call me at 717-615-2274.You are also welcome to share this article or other resources found on my blog (visionandpassion.wordpress.com). Feel free to contact me if you or an associate would like to join my blog or receive this article as a PDF.

God bless,