HR personnel who are not thinking about increasing leader retention may be losing high-performing leaders without knowing it. But HR teams can improve leader retention by defining a strong leadership talent strategy.
A leadership talent strategy should:
- Include a robust plan for how to attract top talent from external sources.
- Incorporate a succession planning process that identifies a viable pipeline for future leaders.
- Provide equal opportunities to all and be audited on a regular basis to ensure women, minorities, and other underrepresented groups have equal opportunities to advance through the talent pools for leadership roles.
- Include a process for developing those within the leadership succession pipeline so they receive equal opportunities for success in future roles.
And the strategy shouldn’t forget about high-potential employees. Regardless of gender or ethnic background, all high potentials should have access to the same programs. Ensuring everyone has equal opportunities to be prepared for their next opportunity is the key to success.
HR Best Practices for Leader Retention
Though retaining top leaders can be a challenge, these HR best practices directly impact leaders’ intentions to stay in their organizations:
1. Define good performance for each role. When success is not well defined, leaders may struggle to know how they are doing and question whether they can meet expectations. And when success is not defined for high-performing leaders especially, they may not feel accomplished or fulfilled in their roles.
2. Create clear career paths. Leaders who have a clear understanding of their career paths are more likely to stay with their organization. Defining long-term goals can improve leaders’ sense of motivation and provide clarity about what they are working toward.
3. Train leaders to express empathy. Leaders who feel their direct managers genuinely care about their well-being are more likely to stay with the company. They believe their managers will work to develop them for future opportunities and trust that their best interests are in mind when decisions are made.
4. Prioritize development. Leaders who have established high-quality, relevant development plans are more likely to stay. They feel their organization is investing in their future and understand the benefits of further development. Development planning also helps prepare talent for leadership transitions when the opportunity arises. Be sure employees document their career development plans so employees and leaders can refer to them easily on an ongoing basis.
5. Promote effective coaching. When leaders receive effective coaching from their direct managers, they are more likely to stay with their organization. Coaching helps employees feel valued and develop a dialogue with their leaders about their skills and gaps. These employees feel more prepared when an opportunity arises because they have had close supervision and feedback opportunities. Though coaching may come naturally to some, it may be a skill that needs to be developed for others. Offer consistent training opportunities to help leaders coach and develop others to ensure future leaders get guidance when they need it.
6. Offer feedback regularly. Those who receive feedback on their skills are more likely to stay. Why? Because they know they are gaining valuable insights into how they can grow to become more effective in the future.
Learn more HR best practices for leader retention in DDI’s blog.