In a recent Inc.com article, Mark Cuban “drops a major truth bomb.” He says, “Now the onus is on employers to keep their best employees happy.”
He is right, of course. Employers need to take great care of their best employees. But that’s not much of a “truth bomb.” It’s just common sense.
What’s not common sense is how to do it.
I don’t think employers should be so anxious in a competitive job market that it leads them to make rash decisions or design special interventions to “insure” the long tenure of their top talent. There is no such thing as a healthy relationship that is not based on mutual accountability. My experience tells me that employees who are paid fairly and treated respectfully, who co-create challenging and achievable goals and are given the resources to achieve them, and who are engaged in regular, meaningful conversations about performance are simply not a flight risk.
We cannot lose sight of the fact that great performers want to be held accountable. They thrive on it.
That said, top performers will leave your company. They will leave because they are aspirational and competitive and because your company will not always have the “next level” job available when they are ready for it. This is just what happens in a healthy and dynamic environment. The turnover is beneficial to the company because it forces leadership to never stop cultivating the next generation of high performers. The trap is to get too comfortable with high performers and then be surprised that one day they decide to go off and try something new.
I would rather my company be known as one that breeds top talent than one who takes unrealistic measures to keep people “happy.”
For another perspective on this, you might check out this short video by Patty McCord, formerly of Netflix. It’s a breath of fresh air.