Three Ways To Keep High Potential Talent Happy

With the unpredictability of the job market these days it probably comes as no surprise that job satisfaction is on a downswing.  Even those fortunate enough to land a management position feel stuck once they get there, only working hard enough to ride out the bad times until something better comes along.  As we see more signs of life in the economy, it’s only a matter of time until these unhappy key hires are out the door.

The number of people who are unhappy at work may be higher than we thought – in fact, a recent survey by Right Management reveals that only 19% of employees describe themselves as being “satisfied” with their jobs. This means a lot of people are not very eager to get out of bed and go into the office in the morning.

Here are three ways you might keep your high potential talent happy at work, and more capable of being effective leaders:

Present Challenging Work Assignments
A key component to job satisfaction is feeling pride and fulfillment in one’s work, and much of that comes from feeling challenged with the task at hand.  Work assignments that take people out of their comfort zones or push them to think or act in a different way can provide excellent development opportunities and prepare them for future leadership roles.  Focusing on what people do well – and challenging them to become even better – is another way to ensure your leaders are never bored.

Provide a Roadmap for Growth

It’s hard to get anywhere if you don’t know where you’re going.  In a recent one-on-one meeting with my CMO, he asked me to memorialize my desired career path, even though my plan may eventually lead me to a role outside of Vistage (he introduced this idea).  He encouraged me to share my roadmap with others in the organization so that I might enlist their support.  While it may sound counterintuitive, his point demonstrated to me that the company is interested in my happiness and career growth – no matter where my path may lead.  And in the process, I’m a lot more likely to produce better results and be more loyal to my employer by looking for internal opportunities for advancement.

Facilitate and Foster Internal Peer Networks

The rise of online peer networks has allowed employees from around the world to collaborate and communicate like never before.  In recent years some companies have opted for traditional face-to-face meetings with executive peer groups to solve critical business issues and gain crucial buy-in from team members on the spot.  Participants in these peer groups develop strong bonds with each other, and the process creates a valuable network as leaders move through the organization.  No matter the method, your high potentials and key leaders must feel connected to others in the organization to remain happy, and internal peer networks provide that opportunity.

If you can retain even one key leader using the methods above, you’ve simultaneously increased engagement, productivity, and reduced costly turnover, while making people happier and more connected on the job.  Results like those are certainly worth the effort.

What are some ways you work to keep your high potential talent happy on the job?

Category : Leadership

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About the Author: John Ruzicka

John Ruzicka is the Manager of Senior Executive Programs for Vistage Inside.  Prior to joining Vistage, John was with the University of San Diego, where he spent five years marketing for the graduate programs in the Scho

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  1. Don’t forget giving recognition, public praise, and a thank you for contributions made.

    • John Ruzicka

      June 21, 2012 at 3:57 pm

      Great point, Ken. We could do an entire series on the how, why, and when of giving praise and recognition.

  2. Nice piece. I like the suggestion of the Peer Networks too. We often overlook this as a value add for our people and when companies can create the time/space for these group to collaborate, it does improve efficacy around the work place.
    I might also add that taking time to find out the drivers behind each of your people upon hiring (or after if you haven’t yet done this). It helps when we know what gets our people up in the morning and we can affirm them from that place. It’s the intrinsic motivation element. 

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