imagesIn today’s workforce the company that gets ahead is the company with the top talent. It’s become so important to achieving and exceeding goals that now companies are dedicating entire teams to talent development and talent management. According to recent Department of Labor statics, the average tenure of an employee in the U.S. is now only 1.5 years. And the fact is when an employee leaves morale goes down, productivity is affected and the remaining team members have to do more with less.


In my opinion after having worked with many companies who are struggling to leverage their top talent for one reason or another, I’ve identified the top mistakes that are costing companies their best employees, managers and overall key contributors.

The truth is the only differentiator between your company and your biggest competitor is the people [talent] walking your halls and achieving your goals instead of theirs.

Because I have the pleasure of helping companies create their talent optimization plans, I am able to see first hand the mistakes they are making that is positioning the best of the best to leave in search of something “better”.

Here are the top 5 mistakes that companies are making that are costing them their top talent

  1. Lack of connection to the big picture – One of the questions that I loved on Gallup’s Q12 employee engagement survey was: “The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.” Gallup’s extensive research shows that there is a direct correlation between how employees rate that one question and employee retention, customer metrics, productivity, and profitability. Gallup concludes that “The best workplaces give their employees a sense of purpose, help them feel they belong, and enable them to make a difference.” Gone are the days of “because I said so” management. People will always support what they help to create and if your company is not helping each contributor understand the big why, you’re giving your talent permission to exit the building.
  2. Minimal opportunities to understand, develop and leverage employee strengths. When you hire based on a job description and not based on talent alignment, the result will be that they person in the position will eventually become disengaged and robotic versus creative and focused on how to make a bigger difference for the company. More and more, the first thing we are doing upon working with a company is assessing the talent. We are clarifying and identifying the core skill sets and talents and making position adjustments so that people are working in their clear strengths. And the result? Well, let’s just say that for the 10 companies we worked with in 2014, they’ve increased their productivity, effectiveness and exceed their quarterly goals in each quarter reported. Notice that I am NOT talking about a training and development opportunity. I’m talking about getting clear about who you already have working for you and what they do best. When you don’t have the right people in the positions you need you risk your results. Alarmingly, 60% of American workers are not using their best talents in their positions each day.
  3. Management. While you may be able to choose your job, seldom can you choose your managers. When it comes to the mistakes that managers make that effect top talent, we’ve heard everything: “my boss doesn’t trust me,” “I’m tired of being micro-managed,” “I don’t trust him [my boss], I can tell his only looking out for himself,” “if it were him or me, he’d throw me under the bus in a second,” “I can do his job better, he’s just in that position because he knows someone,” and honestly those are the tip of the iceberg! The fact is that whom a company puts into leadership positions has bearing on the results achieved and how effectively the people work. Trust in management is a big factor in this reason why top talent is leaving companies. Did you know that companies with high trust levels outperform companies with low trust levels by 186 percent? Exactly.
  4. Lack of creating a fun, empowered culture and workplace. Culture really is important and it’s one of the top reasons why people leave. While they may not call it “culture” they will speak to the “energy, environment or the people,” all of which make up a company’s culture. With more than half of America workers disengaged, many reports show culture or lack there of as one of the reasons for such a high statistic.  When every contributor is committed to moving the needle in an organization, the needle moves. The larger the organization, the more the focus on culture shifts and this is a big mistake. At every level at all times each contributor needs to be clear about the vision and how they play a part. Any disconnect threatens to derail goals and objectives.
  1. Lack of advancement opportunities. When the pickings are slim to move up (especially when people feel like their talents aren’t being fully utilized,) they jump ship.   When new opportunities become available, rather than post them exclusively to outside agencies, we encourage companies to look within their organizations. We employees see job postings, they get energized and reconnected to helping the company experience results. If too much time passes between opportunities, employees will remain actively disengaged, collecting a paycheck and waiting to find a company who sees the value of their contribution.

The fact is that 90% of voluntary turnover is avoidable. With effective talent management and optimization plans, your company can attract and retain the best of the best and boost your bottom line.

©2014 by Darnyelle A. Jervey. All Rights Reserved. Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA, is the CEO of the Amethyst Consulting Group. Amethyst Consulting Group is a consulting firm that specializes in talent optimization. We help corporations and organizations optimize their emerging, expanding and executive business leaders so that they advance their organization.  Let’s face it, your organization likely has three problems: process, profit and people.  And since we are being honest, you’ll likely admit that a process or profit problem is really a people problem in disguise.  Through understanding the power of talent optimization, you can build stronger leaders that are engaged, empowered and equipped to move the needle in your organization.  To start optimizing your talent, visit and schedule a needs discovery meeting today.

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