#MondayBlues: Why companies drive away their talents

For a little while taking my mind away from MH307 incident, I think I want to share this (which may perhaps missed on Saturday’s morning).

EACH year companies invest hundreds and thousands of ringgit to train, improve and develop their talents.

On top of that, various perks are also offered, most of the time in the form of better remuneration. But employees still leave.

There are various reasons for this. The following are opinions from various industry experts on why companies drive away their talents.


It’s not always about money

Omnicom Media Group Malaysia chief executive officer Andreas Vogiatzakis says that remuneration issues, surprisingly, is not necessarily the main factor that drives an employee to seek greener pastures.

Heera: 'When they are treated like any normal employee, that is when they leave.'

Heera: ‘When they are treated like any normal employee, that is when they leave.’

“It is not all about the money, as there is always someone (employer) who will be willing to offer more.

“People leave for different reasons but these have somehow changed over the years.

“It can be money, career advancement, recognition, work environment, personal ambitions, differences of opinion and much more”.

Vogiatzakis believes that job happiness is vital.

“Fundamentally, I believe people leave when they are not happy, and happiness is a delicate balance of material and emotional satisfaction in the work environment.

“For me, a company needs to create an environment and a culture that fosters happiness, which creates a desire for people to stay.”

Treating talents like ‘normal’ employees

Heera Training and Management Consultancy principal consultant Heera Singh says talented employees “know they are talented” and therefore demand “special treatment.”

“When they are treated like any normal employee, that is when they leave.

Vogiatzakis: 'It is not all about the money as there is always someone who will offer more.'

Vogiatzakis: ‘It is not all about the money as there is always someone who will offer more.’

“By ‘special treatment’ it means that they want things like better pay, flexibility in terms of work or even special development programs.

“All this (special treatment) is worth it as these talented employees can contribute much more than ‘normal’ employees.

“Importantly, companies also need to tell talented employees that their services are very much appreciated.

“They thrive on it. Don’t tell them only when they put in their resignation letter, which is common among Malaysian companies.”

Leaderonomics chief executive officer Roshan Thiran concurs that talents today like to feel important.

“Talents leave when they aren’t empowered.

“This desire to have a space (large or small) where you have the authority to decide what happens, is not restricted only to the Generation Y group, although they may be the most vocal about this.”

He says ambitious and high performers naturally seek growth and will not stay long as mere “instruction-followers.”

Roshan: 'Talents leave when they aren't empowered.'

Roshan: ‘Talents leave when they aren’t empowered.’

“This means organisations that plan to keep their top talents need to figure out how to empower them and provide the space, opportunity and challenges that will not only keep them engaged with the organisation but also provide the basis for personal development and growth.”

Vogiatzakis admits that the younger generation, especially the “Generation-Y” group of individuals, tend to have “higher demands.”

“They become easily distracted, want faster career advancements, demand higher salaries sooner and unlike their older counterparts and are willing to move on to another job more easily.”

He advises the younger generation to “stay focused, start low and aim high,” adding that they also need to work hard, pay their dues and learn to advance.

“If they change jobs they have to do it for the right reasons and not only for the money.

“With focus and perseverance, money will come.

“But attitude and willingness to learn is the tough part.

“Once you build your competence, financials become the easy part.”

Bad bosses

Heera says the quality of the supervision an employee receives is critical to his or her retention.

“Using an analogy, the worst thing a company can do is to allow a donkey to manage stallions.

“Many times, talented employees leave as they feel stifled by their superiors who by nature are micro-managers, are incompetent or are autocratic.

“People leave managers more often than they leave companies or jobs.

“Anything the supervisor does to make an employee feel unvalued will contribute to turnover,” he says.

Heera adds that among the employee complaints about their bosses include unclear expectations, lack of feedback on performance and feelings of being unappreciated.

Another reason talents leave is when communication only ‘trickles’ downwards, says Roshan.

“Communication and engagement must be two-ways and across the entire organisation’s infrastructure.

“Engagement is not just about communication, but about feeling that the work that is being done is meaningful, both on a professional level as well as a personal and growth level.”

Roshan adds that talents also leave when their personal goals and values are not aligned with those of the company.

“Every organisation has core values that are usually dictated by the personal values of the leader and shared culture across the organisation.

“If there is no clear alignment on a core value or goal, such as the love for people or high quality service at all times, then crucial areas of misalignment will evolve into larger cracks as time goes on.

“So, hiring upfront employees who can align with organisation and behaviourial expectation and culture of the organisation is key to retention.”

So, if you are a boss, do you think you have done good enough or actually you think he/she is not a talent and replaceable?

How about you who works under a boss.. do you think you are a talented staff?

I had this one moment with my mentor (NOT during performance assessment) when he asked me “What is your talent?”

Frankly and not apple polishing him (because I know he is not the type of guy who like to be apple-polished), I said to him this:

“Before I joined you, I think I am good at this, this and this. I think I am good. However, after seeing you do your work, it feels like you are in Premier League, and I am at division 3 mid table team! So to answer what is my talent, I do not know anymore!”

Of course what transpired after that it’s for me to keep and learn to be better.

How about you? If your boss asks you what is your talent (if you are a talented person), can you tell???


You are part of people on the street. My opinion might not as good as yours. Come, please share your thoughts with us!!!

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