An employee who was one of your top performers gave notice and left the organization. She had a great offer from a competitor.  She told her supervisor “there is plenty of development opportunity at the new company”. Could you have prevented this? YES!

One employee leaving usually does not bring concern. But a few factors here should be of concern. 

  1. She was a top performer. 
  2. She perceived there was more professional opportunity elsewhere. 
  3. She gave you notice before exiting. 

Those factors indicate this was not a spur of the moment decision. There were     indicators that this was coming. Let’s move backwards in time.

When was the last time you and she had a strengths and value conversation? Did she hear from you that you knew she excelled in her work? Did she know you valued her unique abilities in the role and on your team?  What did her last performance review indicate – recognition for excellence or what needs improvement?

Examine the indicators:

  • She was looking for more growth. Had she been asking for more and different work? Was she seeking feedback from you and mentors? That request for feedback could have been as ordinary as describing how she solved the latest problem or asking your opinion about something.
  • She was looking for more opportunity.  Did you, as the supervisor, know that?  You would know if you have growth and value conversations frequently.  If you knew it and offered to send her to training. But that may not have been appreciated.  Maybe you were not really hearing what she wanted.  Mentoring, coaching, exposure to other departments in the organization or work on more complex projects, might just be the growth she was talking about.  Employee with high potential needs are often not talking about training, but practice and discovery.
  • She gave notice. That was the right thing to do and good employees will do that. But it is also a way to give you, the supervisor, a chance to keep her. That could have been a chance to make up for lost time. To have the value conversation. To find out what her career goals are for the short and long term and how you could support those goals. It is important not to just hear her, but develop a plan and execute it with her.
                That conversation can make sure she knew how much you needed her on your                         team and what growth she might experience with you.  

Don’t wait! Have those strengths and value conversation this week with your best employees!


  • Leatha Ritchie

    Leadership Development Writer and Coach at LPR Consulting

    Leatha Ritchie serves as principal consultant and owner of LPR Consulting. Leatha is a certified Gallup® Strengths Coach, facilitator of The Change Cycle™, with training in Coaching from ATD, and is certified as an assessor for Predictive Index. She has extensive experience in training and development of current and high potential leaders with an emphasis on training that accompanies coaching or mentoring. Leatha’s particular area of expertise is examining and improving new leader orientation, succession planning, and programs for good leaders to become great. It takes passion, resources, and direction to develop as a leader. Leatha’s articles and blogs bring tools, inspiration, and experience to the learner. Previous to this role Leatha served as VP Operations Leadership Strategy & Development at Bright Horizons, a leader in the early education field. Her roles as Regional Manager, Director of Regional Manager Development, and Division Vice President gave her unique talent in recognizing challenge and growing leaders to confront and managing through while improving the business. Often Leatha was tapped to assess challenging organizational situations then develop systems, resources, and provide training to improve outcome. This role took her throughout the United States, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Guam. Leatha holds a bachelor degree in history with a minor in early childhood education from Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she also received her Master of Business Administration.