Why Are You Worried About Losing Employees to Competitors?

I’m amused when other agencies try to hire my people away. They’d have to ‘hire’ the whole environment. For a flower to blossom, you need the right soil as well as the right seed” William Bernback

William Bernback really hit the nail on the head with this quote. If we, as leaders, have created the proper environment within our organizations, we should not be concerned about losing our best employees to the competition because no one will want to leave. We will have a culture that attracts and retains employees and few recruitment agencies will stand a chance in luring our staff away .

The million dollar question is, what does this “miracle” environment or culture look like? What sort of “soil” do we need to have to promote the growth of our employees and our business?

Unfortunately, there is no simple or single answer as every business and industry segment is different and different things appeal to different people. However, there are some things that can be done regardless of what business you are in to ensure you are cultivating the right soil or culture. There have been many studies done and many books written on things like wages, benefits, physical building and amenities. Although these things are all important, I am not going to address them here. I am going to outline four critical things that any leader can implement in their organization that will kick-start this “miracle” culture.

  1. Develop your staff – ensure that your staff have opportunities to continuously learn and increase their knowledge. This allows them to become masters in their field of expertise. Mastery is one of the three areas Daniel Pink identified as a key to an engaged workforce in his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. Some of you might challenge this by saying “What happens if I train the employees and they leave?” Zig Ziglar addressed this clearly when he stated “The only thing worse than training people and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.
  2. Build a culture that utilizes “Tours of Duty”. These are well defined work assignments that allow the employee to advance and learn while at the same time improve some aspect of the business. Refer to my previous post Boost Employee Productivity and Retention with One Tool for more details.
  3. Build a culture that encourages Autonomy  (the second of the three areas Daniel Pink identified as a key to an engaged workforce in his book Drive). Clearly set out expectations for your staff and then turn them loose to get their work done. Do not micromanage but give them control over their scope of work and domain of expertise.
  4. Your culture should allow employees to understand their Purpose  (the third area Daniel Pink identified as a key to an engaged workforce in his book Drive) and how they fit into the organization. A culture that supports and promotes purpose can be built by;
    • Clearly defining and communicating your organization’s Vision
    • Clearly defining and communicating your organization’s Mission
    • Clearly defining and communicating your organization’s Values
    • Clearly defining and communicating your organization’s Goals
    • Explaining how each employees’ role contributes to the vision, mission and goals.

The next time you lose a key employee or you are worried about losing a key employee, take a look internally at your culture. What part of your culture prompted the employee to leave? What changes do you need to make to improve the culture to nourish your employees so outside opportunities cannot measure up to what they have with you?

For more culture information, check out some of my past blog posts that may be of interest;



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