Three ways to stop high flyers from flying away

September 28, 2016 Geoffroy De Lestrange


Fresh research reported in CityAM found that over a quarter (29%) of senior workers would consider changing career in the next five years, while 43% of managing directors are pondering a second career.


These findings could spell trouble for businesses – especially those that invest in its people to eventually become leaders.  Top performers are typically ambitious people, and so naturally want career progression. So, how do you stop your best senior workers from walking away?


1. Be transparent about internal positions available


At Cornerstone, our own research backs this idea of workers seeking new challenges in order to be more fulfilled professionally. Our recent study we conducted with IDC, which interviewed 1,352 HR professionals and line managers across 16 European countries, revealed that the most important factor for employee happiness was internal mobility. Employees who reported that they can progress internally or move into different departments were found to be significantly more proud and willing to recommend their workplace, resulting in them being more engaged employees and much more likely to stay at their company.


Employers also need to demonstrate that there are clear opportunities to progress and move within the company to ensure that workers remain happy, engaged and productive. Being more vocal about the changes and developments within the business and certain departments will enable employees to recognise where new opportunities will arise.


2. Build development plans that inspire and stretch


Constant learning allows for constant improvement, and even the brightest employees need to develop their skills to become great leaders. Ensure your employees have the chance to attend training courses or conferences; while they cost money, they’re cheaper than replacing staff who leave. The key is making learning and self-development fun and engaging. Tap into an employee’s passions and challenge them to learn new skills and bolster their expertise. Using vehicles like Ted Talks, you can open people’s minds to possibilities and get people thinking differently. The key is building a development plan with variety.  


3. Give your employees the opportunity to steer their own career


Employees should not be lulled into believing that career development only lies with their employer.  Employees themselves need to not only make the most of opportunities that arise but to pro-actively seek them as well. Businesses, though, need to help facilitate employees to have their say and for them to take on a more active role in their personal development and progression. This can easily be done through standardising learning opportunities, providing clear, business-aligned performance criteria and properly promoting any internal opportunities.


If your coveted senior workforce and company leaders are looking for a second career, following these 3 tips will ensure that they can and will create that new career path in your company. 


About the Author

Geoffroy De Lestrange

Product Marketing & Communication Director EMEA at Cornerstone OnDemand

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