In a recent survey by Deloitte, 78% of business leaders ranked employee retention as important or urgent.

According to , employers retention efforts are failing, since they tend to focus too much on compensation, benefits and bonuses and not the other reasons for leaving that become apparent during exit interviews.

And, a recent Talent Trends report by LinkedIn confirms those reasons:

  1. Lack of career opportunities and advancement
  2. Need more challenging work
  3. Unhappy with compensation
  4. Issues with management
  5. Unclear expectations
  6. No work life balance

Here’s how the top three reasons break down, according to LinkedIn’s survey:


According to ,  retaining top talent has become key to sustaining that growth and an important mission for the Accenture’s CHRO Ellyn Shook:

“The most significant role of our leaders [is] to grow our people, because when we grow our people, we grow our business.”

According to Shook, ensuring growth and employee retention centers around creating an environment where leaders coach for performance, by tapping into the employee’s motivation and inspiration to unlock their true potential (most often through asking questions and brainstorming together instead of directing to a solution).

How Accenture thinks about coaching for performance

Unlocking potential is not a simple “one size fits all” solution – it is as unique as the people giving and receiving the coaching. To do this, Shook mentions Accenture is taking cues from consumer companies. “We are living in a hyper-personalized world,” Shook explains. “The lines are blurring between people’s personal and professional lives – they want the same experiences at work as they have outside of work.”

But creating a hyper-personalized experience for each employee doesn’t seem scalable in an organization of over 380K people, does it? This is where managers and teams play a key role in the talent development across Accenture’s organization. For managers, Shook says it’s about “really investing in building the coaching capability.” Often, coaching is not something that comes naturally – there are specific techniques and language to create the optimal outcome for both the coach and the person on the other end of the line.

To help visualize the role of a coach, Shook shares the story of her sister and how she trained for athletic competitions.

“She was a state champion diver and she had a coach. But he never, ever was on the diving board. When I use that analogy with our leaders, I tell them you don’t have to have done what [your employees] are doing, and you can’t tell them what to do or how to do it. You really have to tap into their motivations, their inspiration, and their talent.”

In short, Shook reinforces that coaching does not mean replicating yourself in your employees. After all, if people are your product, it would be difficult to create a successful organization of individuals who all had the same thoughts, ideas, and solutions.

Even more interestingly, Shook goes on to explain that the responsibility of coaching does not have to fall squarely on the shoulders of managers. In fact, Shook’s organization has begun to take a different approach to finding support and development opportunities through what they call “counselling families”.

Because 74% of Accenture’s workforce is comprised of millennials, the leadership allows employees to “co-create their experiences” with their peers. “They really want to have an experience where the team that they are working with are coaching and counselling each other,” says Shook. “Together, they achieve optimal performance.”


Beyond increasing compensation and improving benefits, here’s what you need to do to keep your employees aroung longer:

Set clear expectations during the hiring process

Often expectations are not addressed during or after the hiring process. Employees want to understand what they can expect from their manager and what their manager expects from them. Not knowing daily expectations leads to frustration and job dissatisfaction.

Providing expectations during the interview and after the hiring process can resolve this issue.

Too often job descriptions have not been updated and as a result, the actual job is not what was described during the interview process.

To avoid this, use percentages when describing the functions of the job and also use percentages during the interview to provide a clear understanding of the job and skills of the employee. This greatly assists in the matching process.

During performance reviews, ask if the employee has any other talents that they are not utilizing in their job. Often the talents uncovered also greatly benefit the employer.

Give employees the opportunity to advance

Many individuals quit their boss vs. their company. This is true when the personality, core values or style of a specific manager does not align with the employee. In other instances, the employee feels their direct manager is actually holding them back in their career.

Allowing the employee to be evaluated by others than their direct employer can open up communication to identify and resolve the mismatch.

In general, individuals want to learn new things and advance

Many individuals resign when they are capable of taking on more responsibilities, but not given the opportunity.

Challenging employees to take on additional responsibilities and learn new things is critical if they are to be retained.

Provide flexible work hours and encourage work-life balance

The ability to work virtual or have flexible hours is often more desirable than increased compensation. If extra hours are worked, the effort needs to be recognized.

Your employees could be driven by different motivators than you, which is why it’s critical to see your company through their eyes.Review the information shared during exit interviews and make changes so you can retain your top talent.

This outside/in approach will help you take the necessary steps to apply techniques that will create a great working environment which will improve retention.

Talent on Tap is a weekly series where Pat Wadors and Brendan Browne break down some of the hottest topics, biggest challenges, and most enticing opportunities in the world of talent. Talent on Tap will also give you an opportunity to hear from other organizational leaders, subject matter experts, and thought leaders in the space. Stay tuned each week for the latest.