How to Lose Your Best Talent in 7 Easy Steps

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How to Lose Your Best Talent in 7 Easy Steps

Some managers just seem determined to lose their best talent. They may not know that every time an organization replaces a salaried employee, direct replacement costs can reach as high as 50%-60% of an employee’s annual salary, with total costs associated with turnover ranging from 90% to 200% of annual salary.

Why is that? When you factor in advertising, interviewing, screening, training, the cost of onboarding as the new employee learns the ropes, the loss of engagement for fellow employees who witness turnover, the possible customer service errors inherent with new employees, and cultural impact, you can see just where the money goes.

The good news for those managers dedicated to the art of losing talent is that it’s even easier with Millennials. The number one reason this group of workers leaves a job is directly related to their boss. Not to mention, 58% of them expect to leave their jobs in three year or less. With the seven steps below, it’s not so hard to push them out the door even sooner.

I'm outta here.

Take These Seven Easy Steps to Lose Your Best Talent

If you want to lose your best talent in the most efficient way possible, here are seven easy steps.

1. Routinely Cancel Your Check-In Meetings

Check-in meetings are where managers set their employees up for success. It’s in these meetings where you find out what your employee has been working on, and make sure that aligns with the organizational priorities. You also have the opportunity to set goals together, and put processes in place to achieve those goals.

Here’s the problem: When employees are able to achieve recognizable goals, they are more engaged. And engaged employees are happy employees—which is not what you want. Worst of all, these meetings build mutual trust. Be cautious: If they trust that you have their best interest in mind, and you trust that they are on target with their responsibilities, you might end up having a great and productive relationship, which might keep them from leaving your organization.

2. Avoid Giving Feedback

Giving feedback is one of the most important parts of managing people. It gives them self-esteem, encourages self-development, increases motivation, and is a great course corrector when someone is getting off track. Further, it shows appreciation, which can lead to finding purpose in work.

You can see the problem here. A person who finds purpose in their work is far less likely to leave their position. Feedback is the water for the flowers. If you give it in regular increments, your talent will bloom, rather than wilt like you want them to.

3. Postpone Performance Reviews

Let's touch base on your review next spring. Or the spring after that. (1)

You won’t be interested in the benefit of a performance review if you don’t want to keep your talent. That’s because you have to discuss ways in which your employee has grown, and ways in which they may need to grow more. If your employee has done their job well, this is where you give them an increase in compensation (a BIG no-no). A performance review is also the backdrop to promotions and career goal conversations. Avoid this at all costs. You don’t want your employees to think you are invested in their advancement.

4. Remember: Your Employee’s Career Growth is NOT Your Responsibility

As mentioned above, performance reviews may send a message to your employee that you are invested in their advancement. Other ways you may accidentally send that message is by having honest conversations with them, and truly listening to their responses. Managers who want to keep their talent are even observant of other opportunities that come up in the company that may be a good fit for their talent. Do not do this. If your talent sees a long-term path in their career within your company, they may stay instead of seeking better opportunities somewhere else.

5. Relocate Employees and Provide No Local Support

If you have to relocate your employees, don’t bother making arrangements for the new office to be up and functioning for them. Make them struggle to get their work done while also acting as facilities coordinator and office manager. In fact, tell them they are responsible for business development in the new location. They will definitely find someplace else to work that values the talents they were hired for, and makes sure they have the bandwidth to use those talents.

6. Don’t Pay Attention to How Teams Are Managing Projects, Particularly if Teams are Remote or Located in Different Offices 


Sure, being a manager implies that you should manage projects. But making sure that everyone is informed about projects and that resources are allocated properly only makes things run smoother. If your team doesn’t work well with each other because no one knows their roles or goals, they will learn to associate work with frustration and inefficiency. That’s a great thing if you want them to leave.

7. Don’t Include Everyone in Special Events. Only Include Some People. (No Logic Required.)

Not including certain team members on special events (at random) is the secret weapon for a manager who wants to lose their best talent. It’s a very easy way to build resentment between team members and encourages employees to feel totally disconnected and unappreciated. This takes little effort yet yields great results for managers want to drive their best talent away.

Do you get the picture? As a result of these seven easy steps, your best talent will feel no connection to her department as a whole. She will feel unappreciated and see very quickly that she won’t be considered for new opportunities down the line. Your best talent understands the value she brings to your organization, and soon enough, she’ll bring that value to another organization that will nurture and appreciate it.

Have you been driven away from a position by your manager’s behavior? I’d love to hear what the last straw was before you decided to leave your job. Leave a comment below, send me an email, or find me on Twitter.


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