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Why Young Stars Leave (and What You Can Do About It)

Why do top performers most often leave a company? It's not the money, or even the title. It's the training and mentorship — or lack thereof.
COLLABORATORS Beth Carvin
How to retain your young stars
infographic by Oliver Munday

Let’s start with the bad news.

1. Even if they seem committed, your young stars are pondering their next moves.

2. Whatever you’re doing to retain them is not enough.

These findings come from the analysis of a data set of more than 1,200 employees. The researchers, who published their findings in Harvard Business Review also learned:

• Of this group, 75 percent sent out resumes, contacted search firms, and interviewed for jobs at least once a year during their first employment stint.

• Nearly 95 percent regularly engaged in related activities, such as updating resumes and seeking information on prospective employers.

• They left their companies, on average, after 28 months.

The good news is you can stem the tide by understanding that your young stars need more of two things: coaching and training (see chart above).

This does not surprise Beth N. Carvin, CEO of Nobscot Corporation, a pioneer in exit-interview management software. She tells the Kansas City Star that “a loss of training opportunities and a lack of mentors in the workplace are two of the biggest reasons why young workers leave.

“Sometimes changing jobs is about money,” she adds. “Sometimes it’s because the job isn’t what they thought it was going to be. More often, they weren’t getting the personal attention, the mentoring, the coaching, the training they wanted… Understand that they expect collaboration, and they want mentors who will help move along their careers a little more quickly.”


The Young Employee Needs Gap

Researchers recently asked young managers: On a scale of 1 to 5, how important are these items to you? They also asked to what extent their employers provide them. The biggest discrepancies, note the researchers in Harvard Business Review, are (not surprisingly) in the areas that cost the most money and time. See the chart above.

#retainstars

THE PLUS

Executive coach Marshall Goldsmith wrote one of the best primers on talent retention we’ve seen, an article titled "Retain Your Top Performers." Among his insights: “Many executives do not tell high-impact performers that they are special, for fear of alienating average performers. But this practice makes it difficult to retain top performers."

Comments

  1. So true! Mentors provide the “force multiplier” to developing young talent, not many are wired for it. The return on developing young talent is some of the best ROI in the human capital space, but requires seasoned pro’s to take a genuine interest vs “not my job” mentality

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