If you are a Manager or Director making hiring decisions, then You Know The Pain of replacing your top performers.

When you lose top talent, it’s a lot of pain and suffering…Lost time, more responsibility over pending deals, lost project leadership, diminished team morale, and the time for on-boarding a new hire.

There is a financial cost, too: The Center For American Progress produced a research report showing the average cost of employee replacement to be 21% of salary. For a 100k salary, that’s $21,000 per lost employee.

With a statistic like that, the question should be reframed as follows: “What value would I get if 21K was invested in talent development for someone who should stay and grow the company’s revenue?” For example, this equates to 1 hour of weekly performance coaching for a year.

Companies write in their annual reports every year that they face fierce competition to hire and develop leaders and “top talent” and do nothing about it!

This is not a made-up problem. Here’s an Annual Report excerpt from a tech titan [I can’t reveal their name, because I gave a presentation at one of their headquarters]:


Conclusion: The bad habit that companies create is a cycle of spending money on bad hires instead of investing that same money on identifying and developing talent they already have.

What Facebook employees Told HR

In a recent survey 87% of Facebook employees voted to keep Performance Reviews. Really? Why? If it’s good enough for Facebook’s strategy can you afford to ignore this problem?

Here’s the 3 reasons they liked Performance Reviews:

1. Fairness

2. Transparency


3. Development

Why A Top Tech Engineer said,“Good-Bye!”

An early career technology engineer was raising his hand to be picked for a promotion. His request? State the objectives he needed to demonstrate in the next two months to be considered for a promotion…what was his pathway for advancement. [This was his request for Development …not even more money!]

The corporate answer? “We cannot do that.” This professional’s technical skills were of the highest caliber and he always delivered outcomes that surpassed expectations and deadlines. In this case, a management transition displaced this blooming leader’s request that mirror Facebook’s three key performance take aways: Fairness, Transparency, and Development. This ended with the loss of a top talent hire and a missed opportunity for leadership development. He left.

Agile Development: The Proven Way To Propel Leaders

Some companies are pulling the trigger and have implemented a structured leadership development program. They identify “talent” already within the organization before looking outside. Often “hidden talent” is overlooked. Hidden talent are true leaders who have not landed on the radar of their managers or directors for leadership development. They may be less extroverted or assertive, and their talent is overshadowed by a team member who is better at self promotion. The key is to discover hidden talent.

Do you have processes to recruit hidden talent right from within your team, department, or division? Do you do it? No one wants to stay with a company that does not appreciate top performance.

Good managers know their teams best, and the nuances of everyone’s work style, strengths and relative weaknesses. Top managers know much more. They know who works tirelessly for a local charity on weekends, who is going through the stress of a divorce, who is most eager to get a promotion, and who put in additional effort to meet a project deadline.  Your managers are uniquely positioned to augment performance reviews with agile leadership development all year long.

How To Implement Agile Leadership Performance 365 Days A Year:

  1. Recruit: Meet with your internal prospect. Have lunch together, discuss recent successes, and find out what other hidden talents your prospective leader may have. Find out how their goals align with the strategic mission and the future vision of the company. What are they still passionate about? What are they secretly wishing they were getting picked to do that they’re not? Are they curious to learn a new skill or technique that will advance their performance…and the company? This natural conversation and setting can eliminate the perceived scrutiny of a review, and tear down any walls of defensiveness that may exist to keep you from getting authentic feedback.

What is happening behind the scenes of this conversation is you showing your prospective leader Deep Empathy—unconditional emotional regard for their feelings. Simply put, you’re showing you care and at a broader level that ‘the company values its employees’. Empathy creates vulnerability for people to be more authentic and disclose more.

2. Qualify: The objective of this casual meeting is to identify two things.

  • What is it about their work that they are passionate about? Identify what will drive them to make extraordinary contributions if they are matched with the right project, team, and goals.
  • Secondly, you want to make a determination about their underlying psychological traits of GRIT: Their commitment to goals, persistence in spite of obstacles, optimism, etc. Learn more about these specific grit traits. In this short lunch meeting you should be able to formulate a preliminary conclusion about their leadership capacity.

Your next steps are to organize your notes and quantify this information. Next, review it with other managers and directors who are optimizing your leadership development program. A true performance review will take a quantitative deeper look at the factors previously mentioned, and pair that up against specific objectives in a new role, project, or set of customers. How does the individual measure up to advancing the strategic vision of the company? How is that a natural fit, and what additional responsibilities will they welcome because of that natural fit? Finally, what additional resources (people/technology/learning) will the individual benefit from to make them most efficient and most effective.

Once you follow these steps you can….

  • Be admired for recruiting top talent, and Never make a bad hire again!
  • Keep your TOP PERFORMERS for YEARS, even if you’re panicking that they are going to get stolen by your competitor.
  • Save the company 100K+ yearly from top performers who do not resign.

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Still not sure? Here’s my promise to you.

  • Every month I read all of the published psychological research on top talent. No motivational BS.
  • Research findings are analyzed and curated.
  • I deliver specific tips, insights, and techniques to hire and develop top talent.
  • Piles of data are broken down into a 3 minute read for you.

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