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The Real Secret of Retention

13 Sep The Real Secret of Retention

I asked him why he didn’t want to leave his firm.  “I love it here!  I don’t care how good your opportunity is, I’m never going to leave.”  The client which retained me on this search was an international law firm, and this potential candidate was turning it down in spite of its greater cachet and richer profit margins.

As a high stakes headhunter, I’ve encountered this response every so often when I pitch professionals on the idea of making a move.  Sometimes I have an opportunity that I believe is a substantial improvement on all fronts: shorter commute, a big boost in compensation, greater rewards.  But people willingly turn down more financially lucrative opportunities just because of the relationship with the boss one level up.  If you want to increase your retention, you need to become that kind of boss.

Note the response this lawyer gave to me.  It was not dispassionately focused on the economic metrics of his current firm.  It was not an intellectual argument. Nor was it based on the idea of mitigating risk.  It was emotional.  There is always, yes always, an emotional context to the concept of retention and loyalty. If you want to increase retention, build loyalty. If you want to build loyalty, find ways to make music in the hearts of your team.

Imagine if you were a manager and you had a team of employees, and your performance was not based on the results of the team, but on the emotions they felt.  Your only job was to find ways to increase the positive feelings they had toward their team, the work that they did, and the company that put it all together. I believe that this experiment would actually increase the metrics that you normally focus on.

If you were able to find ways to put those kinds of feelings in the heart of your team, then they’ll work harder, reach further to hit the goals, and when asked about considering other options, will always respond with never wanting to leave.

Copyright © 2017 Scott Love

Scott Love is a high stakes headhunter for international law firms ( ) who also speaks professionally to various types of business groups on the topics of loyalty, leadership and retention.  He shows managers how to be the boss that nobody wants to leave.  Visit his speaking website for demo video, testimonials, and program topics.

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