This topic came up some time ago – a colleague was losing a member of their team to another organisation, and expressing their immense frustration at not being able to persuade them to stay. It was presented as an endemic problem – “All the best people are leaving … What are we doing wrong?”.
So why are the bright, effective, motivated people going to work elsewhere? What’s wrong with working in local government? Why are we losing the people we’d like to keep?
Perhaps these other companies are offering things we just can’t provide – better working conditions, faster career progression, more up-to-date technology? Maybe they have more freedom to innovate and do cool and exciting things?
Yeah, maybe. And just how do we duplicate that appeal and keep the people we want to keep? Do we know how, and if we did could we afford to?
Ok, there are more questions than answers so far. So in typical jargonaut fashion, I’ll ask some more. And these are very important.
Why are we dismissing and devaluing the smart, energetic, self-motivated people who chose to remain with us? We bemoan the ones who leave as if we’ve just realised how much they mean to us, but what about the ones who have stayed? They’re still here, and presumably we know who they are (if we don’t, then that’s at least half the problem solved right there). So why don’t we ask them what keeps them here? Perhaps they can tell us what it would take to attract them away from their current role, and why. And perhaps they could say what else we provide that wouldn’t be available outside, and to what degree that balances the temptation to leave.
And then, just maybe we’d have something to build some sort of plan with, to make sure we at least can keep some of the talent we recognise.