Daniel Burrus' Strategic Insights Blog

3 Essential Secrets to Retaining Your Best Employees

mail_image_previewYou can’t do it all alone. In order to succeed, it’s essential to build exactly the kind of staff you want. But building your staff doesn’t end at the hiring process. You’ve got to be able to foresee the challenges ahead. And when it comes to creating an amazing team, you can count on the fact that employee retention will be a challenge. Everyone wants to hire the best. How can you ensure that you’ll retain your most valuable employees amid all the changes occurring within and outside of your organization?

All that trouble that your company put into searching and interviewing and hiring the best candidate for the position, all the resources spent on training that person and acclimating them to your business culture – it all goes right out the window if they leave. Money goes right out of your pocket and into your competitors’ coffers the moment that employee decides that his or her value will be better appreciated somewhere else.

The good news is that you can retain valuable employees with the right combination of thoughtful communication and collaboration. You can’t cut corners on this piece of the puzzle without the risk of losing the best talent and brains of your organization to your competitors.

And I can tell you this: most organizations are totally doing it wrong. They’re hemorrhaging their top talent. Here’s why — and here’s how you can avoid doing it.

1. You get the behaviors you reward.

Your organization is probably rewarding plenty of counterproductive behaviors in your employees without even realizing it. Does your company reward loyalty and the creation and sharing of truly new knowledge? Or does it reward knowledge hording and an every-man-for-himself attitude and routinely make a big deal about achievements that aren’t truly meaningful advances in wisdom, but instead just puffed-up chances to showboat?

If you want employees who innovate vigorously and who stay with you for the long haul, you need to reward their hard-won wisdom by teaching them to see the importance of their contribution to building a shared knowledge base. As I’ve said before: You get the behavior you reward, so you have to put in place a rewards system for sharing knowledge — which is, after all, your most crucial asset. Keep at the top of your mind that there are many significant ways to reward people, and not all of them involve compensation.

2. It’s not just the money, it’s the purpose.

It’s common to think that the fattest salaries will do the best job of retaining talented employees. That’s just not so. Money is important, but humans don’t live on bread alone.

Your top employees need a sense of being validated, seen, and recognized for their work. They also need to feel vividly that their efforts are making an impact in your organization. How do you let your employees see and feel and experience the positive effects of their work? In a world where many of us work in intangibles like ideas and information, it’s absolutely key to provide people with the feedback letting them know that they’ve made a difference.

In order to really reward your employees, you need to not only pay them competitive salaries, you need to also align them with your sense of purpose and show them tangible signs that their efforts help to drive that purpose forward.

3. Relate to your employees — from your Futureview® to theirs.

Most organizations make the mistake of relating to their employees on the basis of the short-sighted demands of the present moment and from past habits. This is a fast way to nip innovation in the bud among even the most talented and committed staff members.

In order to succeed, you need to communicate and collaborate with your staff from your Futureview.

I coined the term Futureview over thirty years ago to refer to the vivid mental picture we each hold of our future existence. This is not the same thing as a goal, plan, ambition, or aspiration. Your Futureview is not what you hope for or are trying to create — it is the picture you actually hold, for better or for worse, of what you expect and believe about your future.

Most people are not fully aware of what their Futureview is. You have one — everyone has a Futureview — but often without realizing it or examining what it looks like. Being unaware of it does not mean it doesn’t control you; it most certainly does.

You have to become aware of your own Futureview because it puts a tremendously powerful strategic tool in your hands. It hands you the control of your own future. Your Futureview determines which actions you’ll take in the present, and which you’ll avoid taking. Different Futureviews create different realities.

Therefore, as an executive, are you managing the Futureview of your employees, regardless of current economic conditions? There are people working in your company right now who are already online or on the phone looking for another job. Why? Because of their Futureview as it pertains to working for your company. There are also people who are planning on staying. Why? Because the Futureview of working for your company factors into their Futureview.

To have the best chance of retaining your most essential employees, you need to get clear on what your own Futureview is, and communicate and collaborate with your staff to make sure theirs aligns with yours. With the proper application of these principles, you and your staff can look forward to a productive and rewarding future together.

©2015 Burrus Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Why Martin Luther King, Jr. Did NOT Say, “I Have A Plan”

Martin Luther King Monument DCWhen Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial fifty-two years ago and spoke to a great people about their greater future, he didn’t say, “I have a plan.” Instead, he shared a dream that provided a vision of equality and hope for a struggling nation. His dream was not to get elected and not to become rich; it was a dream that was to and for everyone—one meant to elevate the national conversation by providing a goal that at the time seemed impossible but would be worth achieving for all.

The New World of Cutthroat Apps

thumbnailThere’s a new crop of apps intensifying competition among brick-and-mortar retailers by giving consumers a faster means of comparison and more advanced personalization. What this means is that businesses have to deal with the linear change of ever-increasing consumer options

3 Potent Secrets to Innovation

thumbnailI have always maintained that seeing the future is less a matter of imagination, and more one of observation. Being able to gain powerful insights into the game-changing developments that will disrupt your business is an essential skill to success. And today I want to discuss three powerful principles that drive my work, which I’ve seen implemented to great effect in a vast array of domains, both public and private.

Big Data: Do You Have a Plan?

thumbnail-1Big data analytics is changing every industry. It’s a hard trend, and it’s spread is inevitable – the question is: how are you succeeding or failing at positioning your business to take advantage of it?

Let’s put it in simple terms. Big data refers to the use of very large amounts of raw data by businesses, ideally to create products and services that meet customer needs better than ever before.

Using Blue Tech to Save Our Water

thumbnailSuccessful innovators are the people who see a demand before it arises and develop the technology required to meet it. Certain demands may seem to arise on a whim, as part of some inscrutable cultural shift. But other demands are inevitable; we can see them coming. They develop as a result of irreversible and linear changes: the shifting landscape, the growing population. These are examples of hard trends—what will happen—as opposed to what might happen (soft trends).

What Ebola is Teaching Us About Hard Trends

Deadly and infectious viruses, such as Ebola, are an inevitable and unavoidable fact of nature. In other words, they are examples of a Hard Trend. And they demand new innovations in order to combat them.

mail_image_previewI cannot overstate that Ebola, which is responsible for ending thousands of lives and devastating many thousands more, is a profound tragedy and a global crisis. But the deadly force of Ebola is the kind of imminent threat that inspires human minds to new heights. It teaches us that Hard Trends come at us fast and provide the catalyst to overcome inertia and bring about technological innovations.

The Internet of Things Far Bigger Than Anyone Realizes — Part 2

mail_image_previewLast week I talked about how people are thinking too small when they think about the Internet of Things. When we truly consider the ramifications of connecting a vast array of data-gathering sensors, devices, and machines together, what’s important to realize is that information will be translated into action at a rate that we have never seen before. We are closing in on a world with infinitesimal reaction times, immediate responses to changing conditions, and unparalleled control in managing assets and resources.

The Internet of Things Far Bigger Than Anyone Realizes — Part 1

thumbnail-1When people talk about “the next big thing,” they’re never thinking big enough. It’s not a lack of imagination; it’s a lack of observation. I’ve maintained that the future is always within sight, and you don’t need to imagine what’s already there.

Case in point: The buzz surrounding the Internet of Things.

What’s the buzz? The Internet of Things revolves around increased machine-to-machine communication; it’s built on cloud computing and networks of data-gathering sensors; it’s mobile, virtual, and instantaneous connection; and they say it’s going to make everything in our lives from streetlights to seaports “smart.”

Use Creativity to Breathe New Life into Your Products, Services, and Organization

thumbnailMany of us work in organizations that have been around for many decades. For example, IBM—a popular employer—is over 100 years old.

Older organizations are great, but they often have a corporate culture that has not changed much over the years. In addition, their traditional products and services continue to sell well, but the margins are much lower and there is much more competition. Some people blame stagnation and lower profits on age—that only new and hip things sell these days.