Retention of talented individuals of integrity has to be a top priority for today’s leaders.

When Michael Abrashoff became Commander of the USS Benfold, 92% of the sailors who served on the ship did not re-enlist. People leave employers to get away from bad bosses. They left the Navy because of their experience on that ship. Here were their top 4 reasons:

“Not being treated with respect. Being prevented from making an impact on the organization. Not being listened to. Not being rewarded with more responsibility”

He went from having the worst to the best retention rate in Navy. Nothing changed on the ship except his leadership which created a new culture and a strong team.

Good employees highly value a genuine and positive relationship with their supervisor, working together as a true team, and a healthy work culture. This only happens with the right leadership.

Although it can be, it’s not always about higher pay and better benefits. As Steve Jobs found at Apple, high performers will stay even with lower pay compared to market competitors. They’ll do it for the opportunity to work on an inspiring mission in a positive culture with a team and leaders who believe in and bring out the best in them.

Higher pay and better benefits are ultimately ineffective at retaining talent if it’s a toxic culture with no real team and dysfunctional leadership. Why? Because talent always has options.

For certain, leaders must do the reverse of the 4 reasons for resigning listed above by Captain Abrashoff. We need to listen, treat everyone fairly and respectfully, and challenge them with greater opportunities to increase their impact.

The Great Resignation in America today can become the Great Retention. It simply requires the right leadership.


From the Teacher: Leadership Lessons with Dr. Saviak is a weekly column with the esteemed Joseph C. Saviak, Ph.D., J.D., M.A., M.S., Management Consulting & Leadership Training.


Featured Image: BBC