Home Leadership Turn Archives Me RampUp Solutions Option Sanity
 


  • Categories

  • Archives
 

Retaining Stars

by Miki Saxon

There is a subject that makes me crazy whenever it comes up, as it did today in a meeting when the a senior manager started talking about “retaining stars.” To be honest, I get pretty hot, because I find not just the concept, but the way it’s so often done, offensive.

To start with, there’s the whole idea of “stars.” From the vantage point of my 25 years of headhunting I know that this is true: people work to the quality of their management. “Star” is a strictly subjective definition—one manager’s star is another manager’s pain in the behind.

In my experience the workforce breaks down into three segments.

  • At the top you have the so-called stars, the 10% who succeed on their own no matter what;
  • at the other end are the 3% I call destroyers—because that’s how they get their kicks.

Both these groups do their thing in spite of how they’re managed.

What of the rest?

  • 87% are neither stars nor destroyers on their own, but can become either because of how they’re managed!

Aside from its being mathematically impossible to hire nothing but stars, would you really want to? Stars may be creative, but they also do it their own way. Because they’re leaders, they need constant advancement, if not in your company then in another. Don’t get me wrong, stars can be team players, but they play better if it’s their team. Sayings such as, “Too many cooks spoil that soup.” and “You can’t fight a war with nothing but generals.” have been around for decades because they are true.

What’s more, singling out a few people for special treatment turns off the rest of your organization. Let’s say you have a 30 person group out of which you identify seven stars. To retain them you create a program of special mentoring, training and development, and make sure that they have access to extra opportunities and they stay with the company for four years.

Around 30% of your other 27 people will spend six months to a year trying to gain entree to the program and will usually leave if they don’t. 10-12% will get angry over what they see as favoritism and start looking immediately. Over the next few years, the rest usually experience a drop in confidence, lower self-esteem, declining productivity, growing frustration and dissatisfaction culminating in a call from a headhunter or ex-colleague. By the end of the four years you still have your stars, but have experienced turnover in excess of 100%, since the same sequence of events will effect the replacements.

A far better approach, from CEO down, is to recognize that it’s your responsibility to provide the environment, opportunity, encouragement and support that inspires people to achieve all that they can and become a star in their own right.

4 Responses to “Retaining Stars”
  1. MAPping Company Success Says:

    […] This is important information for managers looking to increase retention across their entire organization, not just their stars. […]

  2. MAPping Company Success Says:

    […] Although I found all the comments of value, it was number 47 that resonated most clearly with me, probably because it played to my own personal prejudices regarding managing. […]

  3. MAPping Company Success Says:

    […] rock stars means turnover—not […]

  4. MAPping Company Success Says:

    […] Tech companies do everything for so-called stars, while treating the rest as replaceable ciphers. […]

Leave a Reply

RSS2 Subscribe to
MAPping Company Success

Enter your Email
Powered by FeedBlitz

About Miki View Miki Saxon's profile on LinkedIn

About Ryan ryanrpew

About Marc marc-dorneles-cpcu-b8b43425

About KG View KG Charles-Harris' profile on LinkedIn

About Ajo View Ajo Fod's profile on LinkedIn

Clarify your exec summary, website, marketing collateral, etc.

Have a question or just want to chat @ no cost? Feel free to write or call me at 360.335.8054

Download useful assistance now.

Entrepreneurs face difficulties that are hard for most people to imagine, let alone understand. You can find anonymous help and connections that do understand at 7 cups of tea.

Give your mind a rest. Here are 2 quick ways to get rid of kinks, break a logjam or juice your creativity!

Crises never end.
$10 really does make a difference and you'll never miss it,
while $10 a month has exponential power.
Always donate what you can whenever you can.
Web site development: NTR Lab
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 License.