People quit their boss, not their job

4 Keys to attracting and retaining the best and brightest

A popular belief is that the primary reason people quit their jobs is because of pay. Not so according to a Gallup poll of more than one million employed U.S. Workers. A bad boss or supervisor is the number one reason people leave due to the environment their boss creates and how they feel they've been treated.

Stop and take stock of your organization. Are people eager to get up and go to work every day? Do they find themselves performing meaningful work? Are they an active contributor to the success of the organization? If so, congratulations. Chances are your managers and leaders ‘get it', and the work environment attracts and retains good people. But, if you're not quite so fortunate, here’s where to focus:

Know what people want and need

We work the majority of our adult lives. So, it's important to find an environment where we feel valued and have meaningful work to do. Employees want the opportunity to learn and grow and work for a manager who encourages and supports excellence in all they do. The truth is...people want to make a difference. And, in return they want to be treated with dignity and respect, have some influence over their future and feel appreciated for their contributions.

People thrive when they are part of a winning organization. They have pride in the products and services being offered, they know they can satisfy customer needs and are confident they can positively impact the success of the organization.

Don't kid yourself

If you are thinking that people will stay put due to recent economic times, think again. Having endured layoffs, mandatory overtime, and the pressures of doing more with less, workers are stressed and burnt out. And, multiple sources predict once hiring begins to pick up, your top performers will be entertaining offers to work elsewhere. If you want to get out in front of it, read on.

Do what it takes:

It takes a win-win relationship to addresses the needs of both the employer and the employee. When you as an employer need to attract someone with a certain skill-set, the perfect "fit" results from someone who has the passion to do the job, the skills and ability to perform successfully in the assignment and is a good “fit” within the culture. And in order to retain the skilled people you will need to move the organization into the future, it is vital that leadership ‘gets it’ and the environment supports employee involvement, meaningful work and professional development. You need to:

1) Value Your Employees

If you want to attract and retain the best and brightest, the culture needs to embrace your people as the organization’s most valuable asset. It is through them your products will be sold, services will be provided, customers will be served, and the organization will succeed. Your employees need to know that leadership places as much value in them as they do in their customers.

2) Lead and Engage Your People

Leadership is vital to engaging people and delivering results. Leaders need to communicate clear direction and priorities, let people know what’s expected, and regularly share how they are doing against expectations. This helps people see how what they do contributes to the success of the team and organization. And, when leaders engage people in running the day-to-day business, solving problems and finding new and innovative ways to improve how the work is done, trust is built and employees feel valued.

3) Provide Meaningful Work

People enjoy spending their time performing tasks and working on projects that have a significant impact. When employees get to perform meaningful work, they use a variety of skills, solve problems and find new and better ways to get things done. They know that their contributions make a difference for the customers, the team and the organization.

4) Ensure Learning and Development

Organizations that attract and retain the best and brightest are committed to professional development. They provide opportunities for their employees to learn and grow. They regularly coach and provide feedback to their people on how they are doing so they know where to focus their improvement efforts. They also take the time to catch people in the act of doing things right, and provide recognition for a job well done.

If you want to attract the right people and retain star performers, it's important to recognize that your people are your most valuable asset! Leaders should be actively involved in developing their people to be the best they can be, teaching them everything they know, and getting them in the boat rowing the same direction. By setting the pace and tone, and unleashing people’s talent, the organization will pull ahead of the competition, cross the finish line and end up on the medal stand!

Copyright businessPATHS. All rights reserved. Linda Oien is the Founder of businessPATHS, Speaker and Author of the newly released book “power10” LEADERSHIP: How to Engage People and Get Results. businessPATHS provides practical solutions to help clients get everyone in the boat rowing the same direction. For more information visit or contact businessPATHS at 509.482.3019.

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