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Ask Rebecca is back: Will they love me or leave me?

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July 7, 2010

Dear Rebecca,

As the economy in our area (Houston, Texas) starts to pick back up, my partners and I are wondering whether our high potential employees will stay with us, or whether they’re going to leave. We know they’re getting offers - one is gone already - but we want to do everything we can to hang onto them.

What can we do to make sure our high potentials stay with us, and don’t take another offer?

Signed,
Will They Love Me or Leave Me?


Dear Will,

High potential employees are asking themselves at least these three questions when considering whether they’ll stay with your firm:

(1)    Do I have a good opportunity for advancement here?
(2)    Is this a work culture I can be happy in?
(3)    Can I trust the leaders of my current firm? Are they people I believe in, and want to work with?

At many firms, high potentials don’t know they’re high potentials. And even if they DO know, they’re not sure what that means.

Will, if you and your partners are really worried about losing more high-po’s, I would:
- Meet one-on-one with each one:
-    Tell them how valuable they are to the firm. If possible, give specific examples of how their work has made a difference for clients, their teams, or for the firm.
-    Tell them that you know the job market is starting to reheat, and clearly state that you want to keep them.
-    Ask them what would take them away from the firm. Often, the things your high potentials want, e.g. more responsibility, don’t cost anything.
-    If possible, commit to a plan of action to keep them engaged.

Here’s a two minute video, where I explain a strategic, 3-step process to having these conversations with your high potentials: http://vimeo.com/10236860.

Have a question for Rebecca? Email her: rr@nextgenerationconsulting.com.

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