Keeping Your High Performers

Topic(s): performance

Topic:  Performance
Publication:  Journal of Applied Psychology (May, 2010)
Article:  Retaining Your High Performers: Moderators of the Performance – Job Satisfaction – Voluntary Turnover Relationship
Author: A. Nyberg
Reviewed By:  Bobby Bullock

When high performers leave an organization out of dissatisfaction or because of a better offer, the organization looses out big.  A recent study by Nyberg (2010) examined some of the mechanisms that influence the relationship between employee performance and voluntary turnover.  In general, high performing employees are less likely to leave their organizations voluntarily.

More specifically, Nyberg found that pay growth and promotion rates both strengthened the performance-voluntary turnover relationship.  When pay and promotions were greater, high performers were less likely to leave than when they were lower.  Another important finding was that high performers were less likely to be influenced by the current economic situation.  In other words, because high performers are more desirable in the job market, their intentions to stay with an organization are less effected by competition.  Pay growth and unemployment rates influence the relationship regardless of job satisfaction. Although these findings seem like common sense, they still hold important insights for organizations right now, especially when considering the costs associated with losing your strongest employees.  Nyberg noted the following implications:

· Organizations should pay more attention to the pay growth rates of high performers as it affects their intentions to leave more so than for lower performers.

· Because pay growth influences voluntary turnover above and beyond job satisfaction, high performers are more likely to leave if they get a better job offer, regardless of whether or not they are happy with their job.

· To retain high performers, managers should keep vigilant even in a poor job market.  In fact, Nyberg found that high performers are more likely to leave when the job market is poor than when it is good!

The bottom line is this: organizations might think that because of the current economic difficulties (i.e., less pay growth and employment opportunities), employees are less likely to leave.  However, Nyberg found that keeping such an attitude could lead to a situation in which an organization loses its best employees while keeping its worst!

Nyberg, A. (2010). Retaining your high performers: Moderators of the performance- job
satisfaction- voluntary turnover relationship.  Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(3), 440-453.