Butler and Waldroop in the HBR suggested that retaining talent is dependent on not just giving people great and challenging work. In these days of talent wars, the best way to keep your stars is to know them better than they know themselves –and then use that information to customize the careers of their dreams.
It requires a manager to be both Detective as well as Psychologist !
As they say:
strong skills don’t always reflect or lead to job satisfaction. Many professionals, particularly the leagues of 20- and 30-somethings streaming out of today’s MBA programs, are so well educated and achievement oriented that they could succeed in virtually any job. But will they stay? The answer is, only if the job matches their deeply embedded life interests. These interests are not hobbies – opera, skiing, and so forth – nor are they topical enthusiasms, such as Chinese history, the stock market, or oceanography.
Instead, deeply embedded life interests are long-held, emotionally driven passions, intricately entwined with personality and thus born of an indeterminate mix of nature and nurture. Deeply embedded life interests do not determine what people are good at – they drive what kinds of activities make them happy. At work, that happiness often translates into commitment. It keeps people engaged, and it keeps them from quitting.
So what are these life interests? Fast Company lists them here.
So how well do you know your subordinates, team members or even yourself? What do you think are your own life interests?
Of course, it's not easy to guess, unless a leader actually knows their people. That's no fun compared to a faddish theory, which explains why its not such a big hit with practitioners.