Are Your Best Leaders Leaving?

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There’s little more destabilising for an organisation than to lose its best leaders, particularly if you suffer numerous resignations in a short time frame.  If you’re having problems retaining your finest leaders, it’s time to investigate what has caused this rush for the exit.


Benign reasons for resignations

shutterstock_430986304There’s a skill shortage sweeping the nation, so it’s okay to expect some level of movement in your workforce. Some resignations will also occur naturally because of things no employer can control, such as a change in the employees’ circumstances, a move to a new location, or a sudden decision for a complete career change. Sometimes there’s a rush of resignations simply because you had a great thing going for many years with a stable team, and humans crave significant changes now and then.

However, in most cases of high turnover with the talented  players, the problem is deeper -seated than that. It’s time to ask yourself some hard questions about what’s causing the turnover at your company at the leadership and high performer level.
Here are a number of questions that will likely reveal the answer.

1. Did you think you were giving them everything they wanted, but forget to ask what they wanted? Regular meetings with employees to gauge their satisfaction and talk about their goals are essential to successful leadership retention.


2. What’s the culture like? Conduct exit interviews and consider bringing a consultant in to create a report on your workplace culture with useful


3. Have there been any significant changes in the company, such as a merger, a department restructure, layoffs, or a drop in profits? Changes like these can trigger resignations, particularly for leaders who aren’t happy with leading the change.


4. Have you provided sufficient support and/or autonomy to the leaders in your company? Your leaders may feel either left to ‘sink or swim’, or alternatively that they’re micromanaged by senior management.


5. Are you paying enough? This is the most simple of mistakes, but it can be rectified with a quick call to a recruitment professional or a search on Google to find out what the going rates are for the position.


6. Did you share the company vision and bring people with you on the decision?
Perhaps your leaders didn’t quite know what they were meant to be working towards.


shutterstock_3507638847. Is there room for innovation in the business, or are leaders expected to enact directives and policies worked out ‘before their time’? How open is your company to new ideas?


8. Is there a blame culture? Businesses that spend more time pointing fingers than coming up with constructive solutions will struggle to retain their talented leaders.


9. How much information do you share with your leaders? Freezing your managers out of high-stakes discussions and then issuing directives with no context confuses and isolates the head.


10. Are the leaders adequately supported from below, and by other departments? Are they equipped with the high-calibre employees and resources they need? Are there good inter-departmental relations?


11. Is there an opportunity for growth in the company for leaders? Do they get opportunities to learn new skills and do interesting work? Turnover is often driven by boredom and lack of engagement.


12. Are priorities and company policies shifting like a sandstorm in the desert? It is tremendously difficult for leaders to get results if the goalposts are always It makes them feel uncertain, as well as putting pressure on them to explain the changes to their team.


13. Is there a culture of integrity? If leaders believe they’re complicit in unethical activities—or more commonly, ones that don’t match with their values—it will often lead to high turnover.


14. Is there a culture of openness, communication, and trust? If people feel they can’t speak relatively freely, share their ideas and trust those around them, then your turnover problem is doomed to continue.


15. Does your company offer a good work-life balance? Are flexible work options available? Are benefits packages sufficiently attractive in comparison to your competitors? Have a discussion with your recruiter to find out what other companies are offering in your sector.


shutterstock_37675164716. Are you saying thank you? Bonuses are one thing, but never underestimate the power of praise and gratitude. Show your pleasure, publicly reward those who like receiving praise in front of their peers, and give a pat on the back and quiet thanks to those who would prefer not to be in the limelight.


So, how did you do? It can be a confronting exercise to assess why your company is losing its best leaders, but it’s the first step in turning things around. Hopefully, you have identified some trigger points to work on, so your next hire of leaders have long, happy and fruitful careers at your organisation.



Nic Hallett

About Excel Communications

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