Retaining Top Talent: Today’s Biggest Leadership Challenge

Leadership is a journey of learning and continuous improvement that presents a variety of challenges along the way. Regardless of the seniority, every leader faces both internal and external challenges. Without any doubt, the past few years have been very challenging for leaders in every industry across the world due to the changes in the workplace and workforce. We wanted to understand the top challenges leaders face today and polled our community for their insights.

Here are our survey results:

What is your biggest challenge as a team leader? (single answer)

  • Retaining top talent 29%
  • Being a source of motivation 28%
  • Discussing performance issues 23%
  • Making right hiring decisions 19%

According to our survey results, retaining top talent is the biggest challenge leaders are facing today, followed by being a source of motivation.

Recruiting, managing, and retaining top employees has never been easy, but right now, it has become even more complex. Losing a top-performing employee to competition is costly. Research by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) states that on average employers spend 6 to 9 months of an employee’s salary to hire and train their replacement. According to another study conducted by the Center for America Progress, the cost of losing an employee can be up to 213% of the salary of a highly trained resource. High turnover rates can also have a negative impact on the company culture, productivity, overall employee engagement and ultimately bottom line.

Employees leave organizations for a variety of reasons. According to another survey we conducted earlier this year, remote work and flexibility is the main reason employees stay in their jobs followed by compensation and benefits. Inflation is on the rise and not all employers factor inflation into compensation. According to Mercer’s recent survey, 45% of employers don’t factor inflation into salaries and only 25% said they will be making changes to their compensation budgets due to inflation.

Being a source of motivation is almost as challenging as retaining top talent according to our survey respondents. It is without any doubt that motivation is key to a team’s success. Motivation can come from several aspects of the job and workplace. It is very important to know each team member and understand what motivates them the most to provide an environment that fosters those values. Clear communication, a positive work environment that welcomes feedback and change, collaboration and treating employees with respect and compassion all have a very positive impact on motivating team members.

Discussing performance issues is a challenge faced by 23% of our respondents. These are difficult conversations but there are great benefits to having them to contribute to the employees’ growth. Giving the employees an opportunity to be heard, and to understand their potential challenges is a good start. During the conversation, it is important to provide specific documented examples of the performance issues based on facts and metrics vs. opinions. Another good practice to help the employees improve is to set up clear expectations and timelines, monitor them regularly, and share feedback.

Lastly, almost 20% of respondents say making the right hiring decisions is a challenge. Putting in the time to define a very clear and concise job description to include the must-haves and a realistic budget is the key first step. While evaluating candidates, not only focusing on the skillsets but also ensuring there is a cultural fit is essential. Some people may not have all skills you are looking for but may have the best work ethics, the drive to learn, and share similar values to your organization’s values, and these people may be perfect for your role and company.

Leadership challenges can become opportunities for both personal and professional growth that push us to expand our thinking and approach problems in new ways to find better solutions.

What is your biggest leadership challenge? Share with us!

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