Every company has their key employees. The reasons they are “key” vary greatly but most every company knows who they are. They want them to stay and they frequently take actions to ensure that they do stay. They may compensate them better, increase their benefits, allow them greater flexibility and even let them bend a few rules. (Not recommended)
The company believes they are doing everything they can to protect and keep their vital people but they forget one thing…
Nothing and no one is more motivating or demotivating then a key employee’s immediate supervisor.
If the person your key employee works for is impossible to work for then the key employee won’t work for them. They will find a way to leave. More money is a short term fix, they may accept it but they will continue to look for a way out. The younger or more talented they are the more likely they are to leave.
There is nothing you can do to keep them if their immediate supervisor is a terrible leader. It’s often said that people don’t quit a company, they quit their manager. It’s often said because it’s very often true.
Your key people may prefer to stay but if they can’t escape the clutches of a poor leader their preference to stay will take a back seat to their need to prosper. Talented employees will find it difficult to prosper under the guidance of poor leadership. Sometimes it’s so difficult that they leave despite liking the work and their co-workers.
When you’re considering your options for keeping your high-value employees don’t forget to look one level above them and make sure that they are reporting to someone who can and will help them grow.