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         continued from page 28             of top performers for new skills. “High   An IDP might include  a planned
         organization well. “Innovation happens   achievers have an insatiable need for   pathway to advancement, or  the  ac-
         when smart people find new and better   self-development,” says Eanes. “They   quisition of new skills. One individual
         ways to get their jobs done.”      have an ingrained need to develop   might take on responsibility for larger
           • Frequent feedback. Top performers   themselves, so the more opportuni-  projects. A second might share their
         want to know  where  they stand, and   ties you can provide them to learn, the   knowledge by training other people.
         want feedback more than once a year.   more loyal they will be.”      A third might cross train in areas out-
         A negative December surprise,  espe-  Those  opportunities can  be offered   side of their core competency. Think of
         cially if it affects bonus pay, may well   by thinking  laterally. “Not every top   these as “expertise promotions.”
         send  them  packing.  The  HBR  report   performer  expects that advancement   These  work  environment  modifica-
         highlights  the  importance  of  monthly   means a higher-level  position,” says   tions, combined with a robust pay for
         performance reviews.               Eanes.  “Millennials,  especially,  often   performance plan, should go a long
           • Advancement pathways. Top per-  prefer to move laterally because it   way toward keeping your best people
         formers expect the employer to help   provides them with more learning op-  from jumping ship. Monitor how well
         them advance in their fields. “You need   portunities  and more  challenges.”  A   you are doing by asking your staff for
         to create a culture where people want   high performing individual in sales, for   feedback. And observe how employees
         to work with you because of what they   example, might welcome a move to an   perform: Are they acting in more moti-
         are going to learn and have a real clear-  adjacent position in human  resources   vated ways and paying closer attention
         cut career ladder so they see how they   with the chance to learn a new set of   to things really important?
         can move up,” says Cutting.        marketable skills.                   Creating a program to retain your
           Sometimes clearing  a path for  ad-                                 top  people takes time and effort. The
         vancement is easier said than done.   Tailor your offer               payoff, though, can be considerable and
         In a perfect world  a business  would   Because not all top performers have   letting things slide is unacceptable.
         have  enough  open  management posi-  the  same  motivations,  you  need  to   “Businesses which  fail to retain their
         tions to accommodate every deserving   consult with each of them to better   best people will be stuck with a major-
         person. Reality is often much different.   understand  specific  needs.  “I  suggest   ity of  their  employees being  slackers
         What can you do? “You need to create   designing what I call an Individual   and overtaxing the foundational em-
         a growth path for top performing peo-  Development Plan  (IDP) with  each   ployees whom they rely on for produc-
         ple that keeps them feeling challenged   person,”  says  Eanes.  “Determine  the   tivity,” says Avdoian. “And that will
         even though they are not advanced into   next  logical  level  of  knowledge  and   lead to a decline in employee  morale
         management positions,” says Dye.   expertise and what can you do to help   which will in turn impact productivity
           One solution is to feed the craving   them achieve it.”             and devastate profitability.” WRN

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