Forget Your Top Performers. Worry about Your Second Tier Instead.

What’s keeping you up at night? In Silicon Valley it’s the same as it’s always been – retention and recruiting. The recession made no impression on the talent market here in top tech industries. One SVP of HR reports “he still has to pay top dollar for hard-to-find talent, and he has to work creatively to keep the necessary mix of skills in-house. It’s a reality that keeps him awake at night and makes him wary of the eventual recovery.”

But it’s not your top performers you really need to worry about. BlessingWhite tells us:

“The 29% of employees who are engaged in the typical organization, while not immune, are less likely to respond to competitive overtures. However, the 27% who are 'almost engaged' are strong performers — and they'll take the call from a search firm.”

All the buzz seems to be around “what to do about retaining your top performers.” Have you been concerned about these second-tier employees? They have just as much knowledge about your workplace and competitive differentiators, just as much desire to work hard, and have likely been a powerful force behind the success of your top performers.

So why would they consider leaving? For the same reasons as any others in your workforce – overworked and underappreciated. It’s just these employees who can do something about it. Deloitte’s research says up to 44% of employees actively looking will take action on their turnover intentions. Can your workforce handle that large of a shake-up – especially in your top two tiers of performers?

ERE brings it all back into perspective in an article on “Where Should HR Be Spending Its Budget Right Now.”

“Overworked and underappreciated could be the mantra of many members of the workforce. Even if budgets do not allow for raises, bonuses, or even increased staff levels, budgets should allow for employee recognition programs to increase morale and reward those for taking on added responsibilities.”

When considering your retention efforts, is your focus broad enough to consider the second tier?

4 comment(s):

At June 11, 2010 4:22 AM, Laura Schroeder said...

You know I agree - nothing drives off tier 2 folks like tier 1 folks. :-)

PS I linked to your recent post about strategic recognition at the Comp Cafe yesterday:

At June 11, 2010 7:55 AM, Derek Irvine said...

Thanks, Laura. It's too easy to overlook those in the middle. I'm planning to write more on that on Compensation Cafe, soon.

Yes, Chuck wrote a great post on the globalization of recognition. I couldn't help but chime in on navigating global recognition waters to avoid the International Insult.

I'm excited about joining the Comp Cafe blogging community. What a terrific group of HR writers!

At June 21, 2010 7:25 AM, Ed Nichols said...

I believe that this can also be a good approach when considering performance management. A 10% improvement in performance from the majority of your employees can often lead to a more of a competitive advantage – rather than just concentrating on you’re A players

At June 21, 2010 7:45 AM, Derek Irvine said...

Couldn't agree more, Ed. Helping all employees see the ultimate meaning and purpose in their work can only enhance your competitive position in the market.