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Talent troubleshooting: 5 practical tips for managers with Bev Kaye

Every manager has talent troubleshooting issues. They come in all shapes and sizes. So, we’ve enlisted the help of Dr. Bev Kaye to help you deal with some of the most pressing problems. Bev is recognized as one of the most knowledgeable professionals in career development, employee engagement and retention. She’s also a resident expert on the SocialTalent learning platform, so we know this Q&A advice session will be gold dust.

Bev Kaye

1.) Are bad bosses the number one reason why people quit their jobs?

Bad bosses can fill a variety of descriptions: uninterested, unaware, self-focused and abusive, for example. But they can absolutely get better. To change, a bad boss first needs to know that they are one, and that can be tricky. Most employees know that it can be “career-limiting” to give your manager critical feedback. We recommend that all bosses get input, ideally in 360-degree feedback assessments. Or they may ask a friend at work for an honest list of their strengths and weaknesses.

Once bad bosses know what needs to be changed, they may need help from a coach or mentor. And they will definitely need continuous feedback as they try on new behaviours. Highly motivated bosses will change successfully and others will do better to step out of the boss role altogether. Companies that are winning the talent war are helping bad bosses to change or, in some cases, to leave. Why does it matter? Because talented people will not work long for a bad boss.

2.) Why is information sharing so critical to retention?

Knowledge is power. Unless people really are “in the know” about their organization and their resources, they can’t contribute fully. Walking away becomes easier. The more we provide information (and we mean the good, the bad, and the ugly), the more we hang on to talent. People want to feel important and part of something. Whenever an employee reads about their own company in the newspaper and gets surprised, you take a retention penalty.

3.) What do you think people are really looking for in a job today?

They’re looking for:

  • Meaningful, challenging work
  • A chance to learn and grow
  • Great people to work with
  • Fair pay and benefits
  • A good boss to work for

These reasons cut across generations. People of all ages view work as personal fulfillment. Rarely is it just the pay cheque. 

Talent troubleshooting

4.) Does employee retention begin with smart hiring?

Absolutely. Getting the right person in the right job in the first place is a key retention strategy. In a tight labor market, employers may be tempted to put people in jobs that are not right for them. Look for a good fit between the position’s requirements and the applicant’s skills, capabilities, experience, and interests. Consider the prospective employee’s work style and whether that aligns with the company’s culture and value system. Managers need to partner with recruiters in ensuring this fit. Then managers need to begin re-recruiting (cementing the relationship) the day after the new recruit begins.

5.) It’s impossible and impractical to think you can keep all your stars, isn’t it?

It is. But when they go, let them be your ambassadors. Let them say: ‘My two or three years at company X were great. The managers were great.” These ambassadors will send you talent and customers.

That’s one way a manager who’s losing a star might think. The second “aha” about lost stars is that they often find the grass isn’t greener. They may come back. Some companies are now sending employees postcards for the first six months after they’ve gone, saying the door is always open. 


Interested in learning more about leadership skills and retention? Bev Kaye has loads of missions and courses live on the SocialTalent platform now. Get in-touch with us today for more information.

Beverly’s renowned book, Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay, is about to be released in its sixth edition. You can pre-order it here.

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