There is nothing worse than investing in your people only to have them float away to different opportunities. All that time, money and potential is now helping someone else succeed. Worse, you need to develop top talent if you have any shot at being and staying competitive. It’s a conundrum that every business will face sooner or later—how much can you invest in your people before they price themselves outside your ability to retain them.
A recent study published in the Harvard Business Review sheds some light on what the best young professionals are looking for in a place to work…and draws a detailed blueprint on the best practices to keep them contributing to your team instead of leaving for greener pastures.
Young professionals placed a high value on mentoring and coaching, scoring it nearly twice as important as service they received from their employers. In other words, the best young professionals want opportunities to develop and explore their abilities much more than they want immediate gratification.
Another break from conventional wisdom was in the area of training. Study respondents valued training as moderately important while their employers scored training as very important. So, yes, the best people want to be trained, but they are more likely to appreciate opportunities to learn and grow outside of a rulebook.
How bad was this disconnect for those employers? Well, 3 out of 4 employees admitted regularly sending out resumes, even though they were reasonably happy in their work. Worse, 95% actively engaged in networking activities hoping to find a better job, and nearly all of them succeeded, leaving their companies after about two years. So, just about the time their employers were hoping they would find their stride and commit to the company, their best people were leaving in droves.
Are you getting this, manager? You might think you want to train your people to Do Things Your Way…but if you stop there you can reasonably expect nearly ALL of your best people to take all that time, effort and investment to someone else who will be more willing to give them what they want.
Bottom line, remember, you are training PEOPLE, not “human resources.” All people expect respect. The best demand it. And if they don’t get it, they will find it elsewhere.
Eric Vainer is a NYC based entrepreneur.