This is a summary of the article from CFO.com by John Touey, “’High Potentials’ Are Not Putting Career Plans on Hold” originally published August 20, 2020.
At a time when a CFO likely needs the talents of their senior direct reports more than ever before, leaders might be lulled into a false sense of comfort that they’re in no danger of losing these star employees. In fact, a recent survey by Salveson Stetson Group of executive attitudes found that their desire to change jobs has declined by 50% during the pandemic with two-thirds of respondents indicating they would not make a job change during the pandemic.
However, the survey found that “high performers,” those who hold job titles just below the C-suite, had a higher degree of interest in making a career change. These star employees are most likely the clear succession candidates to replace an outgoing CFO or CEO, so are precisely the people a company would most want to retain.
Perhaps these “high performers” have concerns about the long-term state of the company through the pandemic. Or the time horizon for their own advancement being extended as a result and their impatience makes them open to opportunities to advance their careers someplace else.
Regardless of their reasons, here are some recommendations for how to retain your star employees:
Communicate regularly and one-on-one
Everyone is working hard during the pandemic. But as the leader, it’s important to check in with your directs about the challenges they are facing and the personal impact the crisis has had on them. Your interest will go a long way to instilling loyalty.
Offer opportunities to learn
The pandemic has presented chances for your organization to do things differently. Make sure your direct reports an not just doing the the same old thing. Instead encourage ways for them to broaden their skill sets.
Foster involvement and engagement by getting your high potentials involved in the planning for the future of your company.
Let your directs know about how the company is changing during the pandemic. If these changes will impact the advancement opportunities for your star employees, better they hear it from you first.
If their perception is that the company has stalled or their career advancement opportunities have diminished due to the pandemic, high potentials may be looking for alternatives. Alternatively, the current environment may serve to weed out those who may have appeared to be strong candidates for succession or encourage others who may have been flying below the radar to step up to the challenge. In either case, it would be wise for company leaders to update their succession and development plans.