Are your people critical flight risks?
I was speaking with a connection of mine recently, who has just resigned from a long-term employment relationship. He was happy at work, enjoyed his job, and hadn’t thought about going elsewhere, but he was headhunted. He was a critical flight risk.
I asked why he chose to leave. The new role is similar in level and salary, but he felt it was time for a change. Why? (2mins 34s watch time). Or read the transcript below.
His manager’s role had become vacant twice in the last few years. Each time, he had applied for the job. The first time, he wasn’t sure he was ready, but threw a hat in the ring so that his employer knew he was interested. He didn’t get it, and was quite ok with that.
Then his manager had a protracted period of absence. For many months, my connection did two roles, his own and his managers. Yes, he got paid an allowance to cover the increase in responsibility, but not the extra hours and work.
Then the manager left, so the job was advertised again. My contact applied and was again unsuccessful. That isn’t why he left. He agrees that the new manager brings skills that he hasn’t yet got. It was just good timing that he was approached by another organisation.
The interesting thing is that his employers are completely surprised that he is going. It simply hadn’t crossed anyone’s mind that he was a potential flight risk.
Who is a critical flight risk?
- An employee who has applied for more senior roles is signalling that they are interested in advancement.
- An employee who doesn’t get a role (especially after acting for an extended period) is going to be disappointed, and therefore far more likely to either look elsewhere, or be headhunted.
- An employee who hasn’t received good feedback on how to improve, and the opportunity to develop their career is going to feel undervalued.
Now maybe you don’t mind that someone chooses to leave, and that’s ok. But if you have a good person with critical business knowledge and want to retain them, the six months or so after they don’t get a role they have applied for is crucial.
They need to be nurtured if you want to retain them.
- Tell them clearly why they were unsuccessful, and more importantly how they can develop to be ready next time.
- Have a conversation about their career aspirations.
- Provide a clear development plan that will genuinely develop the skills they are lacking. And then support them in implementing it.
- If they have significant gaps that will ultimately prevent their career progression, be honest with them. Lying to retain someone isn’t fair.
When preparing your succession plan it is important to include critical roles and people, not just senior managers. If you would like to talk more about how to design and implement an effective succession plan, contact us email@example.com