Do you recognize this scenario?
Sandra, a 27 year old rising star in her company, just told her boss, Rod, that she’s leaving to take a different job. Her declaration sets in motion a chain reaction of events:
- Rod calls his boss Bev and asks, “What can we do?”
- Bev and Rod brainstorm about how to keep Sandra. She’s invaluable, and Rod acknowledges that he’s waited to promote her, because he’s needed her badly on his team, after the layoffs. Bev’s disappointed with Rod, but works with him to create an attractive counteroffer.
- Rod calls Sandra into his office and tells her the good news: a $15,000 raise plus a promotion and four weeks of paid time off.
- Sandra doesn’t blink. Rod pleads, “Just sleep on this tonight. You are critical to our team, and I know I should’ve promoted you earlier. I’m giving you everything that you’ve asked for. Please, just consider it.”
Sandra can’t believe what’s just happened. She’s worked her tail off for Rod for three years, and always been clear about her hopes to advance to Associate Manager. Now, after she’s announced she’s leaving, Rod offers what she’s always wanted.
In many organizations, employers take a “palm down” approach to hanging onto talent, rather than a “palm up” approach. Here’s how Drew Pollick explained it to me:
“There’s a Tibetan Buddhist text about nurturing life, something to the effect of, ‘In order to hold onto the rock, it is not a matter of the strength of your grip on the rock, but the position of your hand.’
“Envision holding a rock in your hand, palm facing down. Then envision the rock in your hand, palm facing up. The palm facing down requires hand strength, which would eventually fail and allow the rock to fall to the ground. The flipside is effortless – the rock lays in your hand without any exertion.”
Many of the approaches companies use to hang onto top talent are “palm down” - golden handcuffs, counteroffers, noncompete clauses, etc.
What if, instead, companies took a “palm up” approach to keeping their best people? It’s not that difficult; it simply requires a different posture. It requires that employers see the workplace as their employees see it. Rather than sitting across the desk from an employee, sit on the same side of the desk.
When companies give employees what they value - creating a culture so cool and enriching that they gush about it to their friends - companies are taking a palm-up approach to talent retention.
To help you get your palm up and loosen the grip on your talent, here - in rank order - are the top three things the next generation values at work, based on our research of over 40,000 employees:
- Life-work balance - can I have a life outside of work AND make my mark professionally?
- Trust - do I work with people who’ve got my back, or do I have to constantly watch my back?
- Good Managers - is there a No Asshole Rule at work?
To learn more about the top six drivers of employee engagement, and how to hang onto top talent, email me: email@example.com.