By Steve Touhill, Partner.

Whether you like it or not, some of your most valuable employees are probably interviewing or at least entertaining exploratory conversations with other companies, maybe even your direct competition. The collective motivations behind these interviews form a narrative about your company culture that, if unaddressed, will be exploited by your competition and could project a negative reputation to the industry at large that will make it difficult to attract future talent and grow your business. Following are three of the most frequent reasons why senior executives we place are ready to consider career alternatives, and closing thoughts on what you can do increase your employee retention rate.

1. Lack of Career/Knowledge Development: the best executives are energized and motivated by roles that offer an increase in responsibility and the chance to develop new skills, product knowledge, or expanded business relationships. When ceilings are hit and personal growth stagnates, ears open when new opportunities are presented.

2. Lack of Recognition/Reward: someone once said that we all want to be paid a little more than we’re really worth, and certainly financial compensation is an important measurement of the value a company places on an employee. Attention must also be paid, however, to the psychic benefit gained through non- monetary recognition, whether that is an award, promotion, or simply thanking someone for a great job. When your employee has lost that loving feeling, attention from another company can be flattering.

3. Weak Leadership/Company Culture: your ability to influence retention cannot be overstated. Indecision, lack of clear company direction, a mercurial temperament, and favoritism are typical symptoms of a rudderless organization that will implode if it isn’t changed. As a leader, it’s incumbent upon you to ensure that goals are clearly communicated for the company as a whole and for individual departments and employees. People need to understand their roles and responsibilities in achieving those goals. They need to believe they are part of a meritocracy that values and rewards their achievement and offers them a chance to do more when they demonstrate success. It doesn’t mean that they will stop taking phone calls regarding new opportunities, but it will make them less susceptible to making a change.

Talk to your leadership team today. What’s their take on the pulse of current company culture, and what ideas do they have to make yours a sticky organization?