What Will it Take to Make You Stay?


You are a star and yet perhaps feel like you are the only one who knows it. Do you struggle to feel appreciated and valued in your work? Are you tempted to start just going through the motions at work like so many of your peers because it doesn’t appear to matter either way?

You may be one of many who are disengaged at work and it is time your manager stopped and took notice before you move on to another company.

In the recent INC article The Most Effective Way to Keep Star Employees From Leaving by Marcel Schwantes there are ten tactics discussed that can help re-engage workers.

If you are a manager, take a look at these ideas – according to Schwantes, doing just one could be the difference between losing a top performer or not. Here are just a few examples:

Never stop attaching meaning and purpose to their work. Set short- and long-term goals that your star employees will be passionate about pursuing. Adopting Google’s famous 80/20 policy (the effectiveness of which, however, has been hotly debated), let your star employees dabble in their own innovative pet projects that align with a company strategy or vision, for 20 percent of the time. Scale it back to 10 or 5 percent, if needed.

Create a culture of recognition and praise. Let your tribe nominate one another for special recognition for innovation, creativity, hard work, and going above and beyond. Then share the success story with the rest of the company. In one large Gallup study, employees who received praise and recognition regularly increased their individual productivity, received higher loyalty and satisfaction scores from customers, and were more likely to stay with their organization. How regularly are we talking? Praise should be given once per week.

Give them a voice. A great example of giving your best people a voice is found at Acuity, the property/casualty insurer. Its employees participate in annual strategic planning, deciding on the charity organizations Acuity will donate to. Acuity’s freedom-centered work environment, in which employees have a voice in really important decisions, has led to an incredible 2 percent voluntary turnover rate.

There is an obvious theme in the ideas offered in the article; one of inclusion and transparency. When we actively include our employees – ask their opinion, explain the whys of a new policy, share company goals and provide training to help elevate our top performers, employees are more engaged and feel personally connected to the success of the company.

When we just TELL someone what to do without explaining the why or the expected outcome or even the different ways that task could be completed, we remove any incentive for the employee to be excited about what they do. “Take out the trash,” doesn’t illicit creativity or buyin. While asking how we might keep the premise free from garbage could bring about some fairly creative ideas and suggestions.

Conversely, if you are not the manager but wish your manager would pay more attention to your value, consider sharing some of the ideas from the article. I recommend asking for periodic meetings with your supervisor just so that you can gain understanding of how you are perceived in your role and also so you can share some of your goals and aspirations.

Be assertive and ask your manager about additional training opportunities. Seek ways to have a voice in your department. Express your desire to be more of a partner in achieving the department/company goals. Take an active role in your success.

If there is something that you wish would happen to make you more satisfied in your job, be proactive and make it happen. Silently wishing your boss would recognize your talents won’t make it happen. Before you leave a position or a company that could be great with a few changes, take the time to express your interest in more responsibility or the opportunity to serve on a special project. You may discover that there is a gap between your abilities and what your manager thinks you can do. If that is the case, check out my article Managing the Gap in Your Professional 

JJ DiGeronimo, a speaker, author and thought-leader for Women in Tech and Girls and STEM, empowers professional women and consults with senior executives on strategies to retain and attract Women in Technology to increase thought and leadership diversity within organizations.

Check out JJ’s new book Accelerate Your Impact by downloading three free chapters.

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JJ DiGeronimo

JJ DiGeronimo

Speaker, Author & Thought Leader for Women in Tech & Girls in STEM.

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