Diversity Woman Magazine

WIN 2019

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

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We Mean Business > d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m W i n t e r 2 0 1 9 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N 23 Keeping high achievers happy Retention is among the leading topics that keep business owners up at night—a worry that only increases when thinking about top performers, whose departures could spell disaster for companies large and small. "I believe in 'stay interviews,' where you check with top talent to understand their intent to stay," says American Ex- press's Campbell. "ese don't have to be formal, but they can be structured as regular check-ins to see if employees are staying fully engaged. e spirit of these meetings is to spend time understanding what is keeping them at your company. Every manager knows who their top tal- ent is; they should be checking in more frequently with those people." Focusing on an employee's motivations is always a good idea, says Katie Ziskind, a family therapist based in Niantic, Con- necticut, with Wisdom Within Counsel- ing. While some may be motivated by money or title, others are more interest- ed in flexibility, more or less travel, and the list goes on. "It's really important to ask about mo- tivations, to make that a normal part of the conversation," Ziskind says. "A lot of bosses from older generations may worry that asking such questions will inspire employees to quit, but it is actu- ally the opposite. ese questions show you care." Today's employees—especially those under 40 years old, according to Zis- kind—like to see corporate transparency, want acknowledgment for jobs well done, and, now more than ever, appreciate be- ing able to bring their whole selves to work. e lines between work life and home life have blurred more with the younger generation, she notes. "ey want to know they can put their personalities into their jobs. ey want to know they can be gay at work or trans at work. ey want to know it is okay to have human feelings at work and know that people will hold space for them to be their entire human selves. If they're going through a divorce, for example, they want to know that someone will be available to speak to if they need that." In addition to work being a place where top performers can safely express vulnerability, the same is expected from leaders. "ere is a lot of research around team compatibility and team trust; one of the best ways to build trust is for leaders to show vulnerability," says Marci Rinkoff, founder of MBR Coaching & Training, an organization development firm based in San Francisco. "A leader doesn't need to divulge something supersecretive, but vulnerability—sharing something personal about one's life, something that is difficult for them—humanizes a leader and builds trust." Is it too late to save a top performer from leaving when she has turned in her notice? While the answer was no for Na- galli of Actualize Consulting, she admits the answer might have been different if her company hadn't acted quickly. "Some people will say it's too late when an employee gives notice, but I think it depends," she says. "If that happens, companies should listen to the employee's concerns and be proac- tive. Even before that, it's good to know when the employee becomes disengaged and see if there's anything that can be done to make things better. at way, the employee is more likely to stay be- fore anything escalates." DW Katie Morell is a San Francisco–based journalist who specializes in business, travel, and human-interest topics. "It really pays to take the time to write down what your culture stands for, the type of company you're trying to create, and the type of people who are successful in your organization." Attracting the best talent involves clear and transparent communication throughout the interview process, Burke adds. She says that while some superstars are interested in eye-popping benefits and top-line salaries, many are interested in knowing what types of problems they will be given the autonomy to solve and the types of people with whom they will be collaborating. "ese people want to know that your company has a strong mission. ey want to know the 'why' in what you're doing, they want to work with remarkable peo- ple, and they want to solve interesting problems," Burke says. "I've never met a high performer who wants to be micro- managed." Worried that your company won't live up to other award-winning cultures? Fear not. Burke says candidates don't expect all employee experiences to be perfect, but, increasingly, they are ex- pecting organizations to live up to higher missions. Burke's sentiments are echoed in the Deloitte Millennial Survey 2018, which reports that the opinions of millennial workers (born 1982–1996) have gone down considerably when it comes to businesses' motivations and ethics. e survey's executive summary, in part, reads, "eir concerns suggest this is an ideal time for business leaders to prove themselves as agents of positive change." Today's employees appreciate being able to bring their whole selves to work. ISTOCKPHOTOS

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