SalesSpire Blog

The Role of Leadership Development on Employee Retention

Oct 17, 2017 11:32:00 AM / by Bill Waham

employee retention.jpgAn amazing trend is emerging in relation to leadership development and employee retention that has grabbed the attention of many senior executives and HR staff in companies across the country. Their eyes are being trained to re-focus on what has long been right in front of them.

Business leaders have always faced the problem of finding - and keeping - quality personnel. What's now beginning to change is that current employees are increasingly being re-evaluated in this regard, and frequently proving to be the solution to what seemed a nearly impossible business- critical personnel dilemma.

Revealing a Competitive Blindspot

Employee turnover has commonly been viewed as a challenge resulting from outside forces, as your trained and valued employees leave for better offers elsewhere.

But as executive search and staffing expert Gary Heinrich recently observed, “...we have found that candidates are searching for more than decent pay and benefits. They are looking for mutually respectful relationships...”

In fact, Forbes recently cited a study pointing to surprising key motivations for employee retention, which include:

  • Manager quality
  • Transparent communincations
  • Clear objectives
  • Ongoing development
  • Job/interest relationship
  • Respect
  • People management

Notice anything missing from that list of concerns? Yep, salary and benefits.

While these are undoubtedly still important to employees, deeper investigation has revealed that many HR departments have entirely missed where those items land on most employee's list of concerns. 

This blindspot has led many business leaders to miss the very people best positioned to meet these needs; namely, their own in-house staff.

Leadership Development and Risk Mitigation Begins at Home

From study to study, employees are consistently telling researchers that team dynamics, as well as training and leadership development opportunities, are determining factors in whether or not they stay with a company. And as businesses become more aware of this, they're quickly discovering the hidden gems that have been in their midst all along.

As internal leadership development programs become more prevalent, employers are seeing benefits in both employee job satisfaction, and as a result, employee retention rates. These programs have been shown to:

  • Significantly increase employee engagement - driving higher levels of employee satisfaction and as a result, higher customer satisfaction.
  • Unlock the employee's full potential – both you and your employee begin to see their hidden skills revealed.
  • Enable employees to perform to your standards – internal leadership development programs allow employees to both see and invest in your perspective. They typically then become more deeply engaged and perform accordingly.
  • Demonstrate that you appreciate & value them – the mere fact that you've asked an existing employee to participate in a leadership development process sends a strong signal that they are respected and that their experience matters to you.

The take away is that effective leadership development from within is proving to be a game changer for many companies that have faced chronic employee retention and satisfaction issues. And resolving these challenges tends to quickly and positively impact the all-important business bottom line.


Topics: employee retention, voluntary turnover, team dynamics, risk mitigation

Bill Waham

Written by Bill Waham

Bill founded SalesSpire after a successful career in sales spanning more than 35 years. During this time he never missed a sales target and ran a $2.5 billion sales organization with incredible results. His teams saw a rate of voluntary turnover of less than 1% and the highest customer satisfaction scores in their class. His expertise is not theoretical—it is a lived experience. Before his career in sales, Bill served in the Marine Corps and earned a BS in computer science via the GI Bill.