Losing employees can be a pretty expensive habit. If your company is in a turnover phase, you're not alone. According to data from Harvard Business Review and the CEB:

  • 25% of top performers plan to leave their company within 12 months.
  • 50% of executives say their organizations are ineffective at managing and keeping top talent.
  • 33% of "emerging stars" report feeling "disengaged" from their companies.
  • 40% of "high potentials" have little confidence in senior management.

Stopping the bleeding and turning the ship around will take a few seasons of culture change, a lot of conversations, assessments, and commitment. But trust me, it can be done.

The ONE principle to turn things around.

To get the wheels in motion, leaders at any level must consider their employees as business partners.

When leaders engage their workforce in an entrepreneurial way, like making them feel as if they own a small business, good things begin to happen.

This entrepreneurial spirit of engaging and collaborating is not pie-in-the-sky stuff. It's an attitude that you allow to filter down to the staff level so they can actively seek out change, rather than waiting for marching orders.

How to do it.

So, let's make this as real as possible. You're an executive or founder setting an initiative for culture change, or maybe a department manager losing your best people to your competitor, and you know something's got to change or your job is on the line.

3 things to consider applying immediately.

  1. Grant employees access to the big picture so they can think like an owner.
  2. Give employees a voice that can be nurtured, not criticized, in order to bring innovative ideas forward. This is truly built around collaboration; the concept that no idea is a bad idea.
  3. Build a team of people who aren't afraid to be in the driver's seat and are equally happy to ride in the passenger's seat when others take the lead.

Sara Sutton Fell, CEO and founder of FlexJobs, expands on this crucial principle which she practices at her own company. Here's how she put it:

"To me, an entrepreneurial spirit is a way of approaching situations where you feel empowered, motivated, and capable of taking things into your own hands. Companies that nurture an entrepreneurial spirit within their organization encourage their employees to not only see problems, solutions and opportunities, but to come up with ideas to do something about them."

Closing thoughts.

Some of the largest organizations most definitely embrace an entrepreneurial spirit: Apple, Virgin, Google, Zappos to name a few.

Culture is a big component of employee retention for these companies. So what that means for your company is that leaders and employees must work together to foster a culture that enables ideas to flow from anywhere within the company.

Letting people take their ideas and see them through is very empowering and motivating. Both are responsible for maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit as the company grows.