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BE AWARE - Retaining Top Talent

“Decide what your truth is and then live it.” – Kamal Ravikant

A few weeks ago, I started a blog series on retaining top talent during tumultuous times ( and how organizations can leverage the 8 BE's in shoring up their retention gaps. Last week, it was about taking responsibility and our focus today is on BE Aware.

In the book Beauty Underneath the Struggle (BUS) by Niki Spears, she states that if you are going to create a good BUS story (finding the beauty underneath the struggle), you will need to find the courage to live your truth. Living your truth means living your why, walking in purpose.

The other day I had a conversation with one of my clients who is planning to leave their job because they state they are not happy. I asked, what do you want in a job? They immediately started to ramble off all the things they didn’t want – “I don’t want to be stressed. I don’t want a manager who doesn’t value me. I don’t like working all these hours.” And they went with a few more “I don’t want statements,” before I finally interrupted them and asked,

“What do you want?”

This question lingered in the air for several seconds, followed by a silent “I don’t know…”

Many of our organizations operate in the same way. We don’t know what we want in our employees, for our business, for the future of our company. However we can provide them with "I don’t want" statements all day.

How can we expect to live out our truth if we can’t articulate what that looks like?

In order to retain top talent we must first BE AWARE of the experience we are creating- I call this the Talent Experience (TE).

The TE starts the moment a prospective team member clicks on your website, visit your job postings and engages in the interview process. It continues with the onboarding to the organization, the onboarding to the department, the intial development plan, the performance plan, the rewards plan, the intervention plan, and yes, even the exit plan. A good TE is aligning the organization's promise and the ability to help all leaders BE Aware about every interaction along the team member's Journey.

The TE plan is consistently measured against our agreed upon vision, mission, and values. This is also how we measure our attitudes and behaviors to ensure that we are aligned in the experience we want to provide.

Amazon’s mission states: [T]o be Earth's most customer-centric company. This is what unites Amazonians across teams and geographies as they are all striving to delight customers and make their lives easier, one innovative product, service, and idea at a time.

I wonder if the employees in New York, who just voted to unionize feel the same? Nothing against Amazon, but we all have these beautiful mission statements and sometimes we don’t do a good job at living out our truth. When we don’t have a clear picture of what our truth is, how can we create it for others? It reminds me of something my Dad would say often when I was a kid, “Do as I say, not as I do.” This meant to me that he wanted me to always follow the rules, but ignore when he was not? Is this your leadership style?

So, what does this have to do with retaining top talent? Everything! Most top talent will choose a company because of what the company says it strives to do or be. They will join the company holding that mission in mind, and become disappointed in the organization when they don’t see leaders adhering to their mission, their promise.

When focusing on retention, we need to give attention to the entire TE experience. We should also get feedback on each system that touches the employee along the TE journey, making sure our practices are aligned to our mission.

By the time an employee exits the company, they are either resigning and don’t want to burn any bridges as they are looking for a recommendation or they are disgruntled and may have been terminated – so you may not get valuable feedback as it relates to the TE.

The only way we can retain top talent is by Being Aware of the TE experience and consistently living our company’s truth!

Sending positive energy your way,



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