Hanging onto your top performers

2009

Every now and then, you'll happen across a company that thinks long-term, or at least tries. All too often during bad economies, you see the "everything but the kitchen sink" approach, where companies just want butts-out-of-seats. But sometimes it has to be more than a numbers' game; in fact. It just makes business sense to keep your best talent if you want a company to survive an economic downturn. Right?

So it's encouraging to see CIO Insight offering some thoughts on the novel concept of not just keeping your talent on board, but keeping them happy, too.

As I go through the list, I look at companies where I worked that went through layoffs. Truth be told, I'm not sure much, if any, of this advice was heeded. For example, CIO Insight suggests that you analyze who the all-stars are on the team. It also suggests that you keep these stars reassured about their position, though I'm not sure to what extent this is possible.

So, have you ever held on to your jobs after a round of layoffs? Did you feel good about it or, like most of us, did you just figure yourself safe until the next round? Keeping morale high, or even alive, in such situations is hard.

To get to the level of comfort described in the article, companies will have to prevent these start players with a solid plan that illustrates a clear way forward. Instability leads to doubt, which leads to the top guys (who often have some money, even more confidence and the best chance of finding a position elsewhere) to start looking for a new job.

In my experience, once people start looking, they usually do not stop until they find something else. So as helpful and well-intended the article may be, it seems like a more pragmatic list might be in order.