Tom Sweeney

It's a coming of age tale….

Losing your top performers…

Posted by sweens on August 26, 2009


Losing one of your top performers is always a tough process for any organization to handle.  I think we all know that from time to time an organization can come across a unique employee who will go that extra mile for the company and always has the desire to better themselves and improve their performance for the company.  This person should be recognized by the manager or company and treated accordingly, because when they leave, they are tough to replace.

 I mention this because my organization is losing a team member who is one of those unique employees.  When I first came into the industry, he was open with sharing his knowledge with me and helped me learn the industry and understand what it is he did and why his role was so important.  As he moves on to a new opportunity, I have been tasked with recruiting his replacement and I quickly realize that finding this replacement will be no easy task. 

 This situation though has gotten me thinking of just how important this type of employee is.  Naturally when you are building a team you do not want to put a bunch of people with the same personalities or work habits together or else you will likely have personality conflicts.  But this top performer should be ‘protected’ and valued.  During the slow economy and a slow summer (at least in IT recruiting) any organization needs to show these top performers that they are valued because these performers are what the organization is going to need in order to climb out of the recession and gain some of the ground they have lost.

 Are companies protecting their top performers when they need to be or are they taking them for granted? 

 I would say this is a tough question because a lot of people probably think they are this type of employee and feel they are being taken for granted, but that may not be the view your employer has.  Regardless of the answer, I feel it is important for an employer to recognize the importance that a top performer has on the company and what the repercussions would be if they left. 

 Even during these current times, people are making changes all the time and if employers are not keeping up with the satisfaction of their employees and their top performers, they run the risk of taking these resources for granted and losing them at a time where they likely need them the most.

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2 Responses to “Losing your top performers…”

  1. SC said

    Well said! I am just getting ready to go back to work after a year off on mat. leave – and I am appalled to learn how high the turnover rate has been at my office in the last 12 months. There were a few ‘top performers’ who were not treated well, and they have since left for greener pastures.

    I think its interesting in how top performers are treated in different organizations. In my organization I find the mentality is to try and hold onto a top performer at their immediate level, instead of promoting them and keeping them happy moving up the chain of command – while still benefiting the organization as a whole. Some managers/directors view it as a ‘loss’ for their immediate team and are reluctant to promote within because of the hole it will leave them in. I don’t think this sends the proper message to a top performer, as it says ‘your good but your not good enough to move up’, which from my experience is when the top performers start looking around for other work in other organizations.

    • Well said, SC. I used to be in an organization where about half the managers wanted their team members to ascend, and the other half clung to their top performers out of paranoid dread of what they would do without them.

      You can guess which managers were successful and had productive teams.

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