One of the most common refrains we see on forums and blogs is the question – What would you do if one of your star employees left the organisation? In this age of increasing mobility and zigzag career paths, retention is a high priority for most companies. Leaving aside the holistic viewpoint of abundance – for example, the sharing of resources, the view that departing employees are an organisation’s brand ambassadors, the view that all development contributes to a society’s well-being, and so on – the most immediate concern talent managers are left with is filling the gap. Of course, up to date and evolving succession planning is key, along with the underpinning identification of critical positions, as well as the competency foundations to develop talent into these roles.

We have done a lot of work in this field, but we still remember being intrigued to see Prof Boris Groysberg’s research in his bestselling book, ‘Chasing Stars’. Prof Groysberg looked at the careers of over 1000 star Wall Street analysts. He came to the conclusion that star analysts who change firms typically suffer an immediate and lasting decline in performance. It seemed their success was in no small part due to their former companies’ resources, culture, networks, and also colleagues. The book builds off these findings to offer guidance on how to manage the careers of star performers strategically and how to nurture and retain these employees.