From CNN/Fortune last fall, but no less relevant in today’s business environment.
You doled out extra vacation days to make up for paltry bonuses to your top performers. After the 401(k) match was cut, you passed out gift cards to remind your stars how much they mattered. In a tough economy, it's the little things, right?
Wrong. Perks and trinkets are nice, but they won't keep your best people when things improve. Some 27% of employees deemed "high potential" said they plan to leave within the year, according to a recent survey by the Corporate Executive Board. That rate of dissatisfaction is rising "precipitously" as the economy stabilizes, says Jean Martin, executive director of the CEB's Corporate Leadership Council, up from just 10% in 2006 and increasing at twice the rate of the general employee population.
That's the bad news. The good news is that perks aren't the only way to keep your high performers engaged. They want a mix of recognition and challenges that stretch them without completely stressing them out. Liz Wiseman, a former Oracle executive and author of the bestseller Multipliers, says money "never came up" when she interviewed 75 Fortune 500 managers about the leaders who motivated them most.