How to lead well to avoid resignation

Today’s topic is about how you prevent your best employees from quitting. This blog has three parts: In this first part I’ll give you my best tips on how to minimise the risk of a good employee resigning. In part two, I recommend ways for you to retain your staff even if she or he has already resigned. And in part three, I’ll give you tips on what you can do to help you make a good decision if you find you are thinking about quitting yourself.

In your role as the lead wolf, you want to have employees in your team who deliver top performance with joy and who enjoy success and fun. To do this, your staff needs the right balance between support and challenge. They need good role models, clear purpose, the opportunity to contribute meaningfully and to grow themselves. And they need consistency in the systems and daily behaviour of the people around them.

However well you lead, the worst thing that can happen to you as a lead wolf is that a highly motivated direct report announces that she or he wants to leave your team and your company. How can you take steps to prevent that from happening?

To minimise the risk of resignation from good employees and to increase the employee’s emotional attachment to your company, you should conduct employee appraisal interviews on a regular basis. A study by the consulting firm Gallup has shown that of the employees who had no conversation about their professional achievements in the last 6 months, only 11% had a high emotional attachment to the company. Among the employees who had a conversation about their job performance in the last 6 months, 31% – i.e. almost three times as many – express a high emotional attachment to the company.

Therefore, the following 3 tips to minimise the risk of a resignation in advance:

1. Regular customised employee appraisals

If you as lead wolf want to motivate and emotionally connect with your employees, you should have a well-prepared conversation about their professional performance with them at least twice a year. That gives them clarity about where they stand and what you expect them to do. The results of Gallup show that executives and employees do not talk to each other often enough. Only 45 percent of respondents said they had been in dialogue with a supervisor relating to their work performance in the past six months. You as lead wolf should use this huge opportunity.

So tip 1: Conduct tailored employee appraisals regularly.

2. Precise feedback

Employee interviews only become really valuable when the feedback received is precise and can be translated into concrete, improved behaviour, and that happens far too rarely.

The Gallup Engagement Index also makes room for improvement among the satisfied: Only one in three employees was able to explicitly take something from the conversation that was useful for their development as a person. And only one in five employees fully agreed that the conversation helped them improve their performance at work.

For a good conversation, it is not enough just to select the right topic. A really good conversation has to answer the simple question: What exactly can I improve and how? If you, as the lead wolf say to your team member, ‘I think you should improve your communication skills,’ then that is certainly well meant, but not really helpful. If instead you say, ‘I noticed that the length of your emails is about three times longer than that of your colleagues. I recommend that you write shorter emails so that others understand your communication more clearly and quickly.’ Then that’s very precise.

So tip 2: Precise feedback.

3. Develop specific actions for employees and supervisors

In a really good appraisal conversation, concrete actions are defined, above all, for the employee but also for the supervisor. If for example an employee can increase their positive impact on others by better body language, it may be helpful to attend a drama class for beginners. This strengthens the awareness of body language and external impact. The supervisor may in this case ask for specific learning objectives prior to the course and inquire after the course for concrete knowledge attained. And, if an appropriate opportunity arises, you as lead wolf may for example give precise feedback after important presentations by the employee.

So tip 3: Develop specific actions for employees and supervisors.

Based on my 30 years experience in leadership positions, I learned that if you consider these 3 tips, then you have a good chance of keeping your good employees successful and motivated enough that they will resist the temptation to quit and happily stay with you.

Summarised: My 3 best tips for you on how to avoid  resignation using your leadership skills:

1. Regular customised employee appraisals
2. Precise feedback
3. Develop specific actions for employees and supervisors

Thank you for your time and your attention.
Your lead wolf Stefan