How to Keep Your Best Talent Loyal and Committed


I just love Richard Branson’s quote, “Train people well enough so they can leave; treat them well enough so they don’t want to“.

This is really powerful because it hits hard at the reason why some people are loyal and committed to the company they represent, and others just go to work to do a job.

It reminds me of the story of the guy who dies and is offered the choice of the place upstairs, or the place downstairs. To help with his choice, he is allowed a day at each location to assess the merits of each.

Going upstairs, he finds it very pleasant, people are very kind, angels are playing harps on clouds and everything seems…well, just a little boring.

He spends the next day in the other place.

The parties are wild, the food is delicious, the drink is flowing, the music is fabulous, the dancing is exotic and everything is fun, fun, fun!

The guy is then asked which place he would like to spend eternity. “Well” he replies, “to be honest, I’d like to go downstairs. It seems so much more fun there!”

“OK” comes the reply, and he is sent to his chosen destination.

The moment the doors open, he is shocked and surprised. Fire is everywhere, torture chambers are in every location, painful screams are heard from all corners. The guy is quickly handcuffed and led to the fire and brimstone.

“Hang on!” he calls out. “What about the parties, the booze, the wild music? Where is everything I saw yesterday?”

“Ah, that was yesterday” came the reply. “Yesterday….we were recruiting!”

When we recruit, we tend to tend ‘sell’ the company really well to the interviewee, letting them know all the benefits of working for the company. The reality after the person starts can often be different, as they are immersed in the day-to-day minutia of the job.

Richard Branson said for us to train the person well enough so they have the skills to leave, but treat them well enough so they decide to stay. That really is the key to keeping your best, most loyal and committed people.

1) Have a professional development programme developed for each staff member: It’s important that every person sees their manager, their department and their company think so much of them that they want to support their advancement in the job. It makes them feel valued and an important member of the team.

2) Make sure there are opportunities for growth and development at every point in their job: Have a coaching session with them; show them how much they are valued; build confidence in the employee’s ability.

3) Create an open communication culture; This allows and enables people to share ideas and keep progression top of the team member’s mind. By progression, it doesn’t naturally occur that a person can (or will want to) progress through to a management position or higher. It might be that they can become the best they can be in their current position.

Bearing that in mind:

4) Ensure that a person has the possibility of being amply rewarded while in their current position: This will encourage them to develop their skills in an area that they are really good at, and can see the rewards they want in their career being earned while being in that position they are really good at and enjoy.

Richard Branson finished his quote by saying ‘treat your people so well, they won’t want to leave when you’ve trained and developed them.’ By doing this, you will create a culture and climate that will encourage your team to stay loyal and committed.

Thanks again

Mark Williams

Head of Training and Development

MTD Training   | Image courtesy by DigitalArt of FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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Originally published: 19 May, 2014

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