The Real Secret to Retaining Talent – The subtle art of making people feel special

Source: Roger L. Martin, Harvard Business Review, March–April 2022
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In today’s knowledge economy, employees with unique skills have a profound impact on organizations. It’s crucial to keep them happy. Many managers believe that compensation is the key (as the eye-popping rewards paid to employees in the upper echelon show). But truly talented people aren’t highly motivated by money. Feeling special is far more important to them. You must treat stars like valued individuals, not like members of a group, even an elite one. To do that, respect these three never-dos:

Never dismiss their ideas.
The Green Bay Packers learned this the hard way when they had a falling out with Aaron Rodgers because he wasn’t given a voice in decisions affecting his ability to lead his team to victory. The videoconferencing provider Webex made this mistake too; it gave no traction to a proposal for a phone-friendly platform made by star exec Eric Yuan, who got frustrated and left to start megarival Zoom.

Never block their development.
Enabling stars to keep growing will win their loyalty. But if they feel their way forward has been barred, they’ll take their skills to an organization they think will clear a path for them.

Never pass up the chance to praise them.