This Dartmouth professor says turnover of top talent is an advantage

Though hospitals and health systems currently face a competitive job market, leaders should not worry about retention, according to Sydney Finkelstein, PhD, a professor of management and faculty director of the Tuck Center for Leadership at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H.

In a column for The Wall Street Journal, Dr. Finkelstein explains that after a decade researching the best bosses in 18 industries, he discovered extraordinary leaders made their organizations succeed not by hoarding top performers, but instead by letting them go. It's a strategy that establishes the organization as a launch pad for excellence.

Along with this strategy, however, comes a serious dedication to top-notch recruitment, according to Dr. Finkelstein. Although they were comfortable when those ultra-high achievers grew out of the opportunities available to them, the leaders studied by Dr. Finkelstein were committed to finding the best of the best to fill vacant positions.

Though it may seem like a talent drain, this turnover is a good thing, according to Dr. Finkelstein. Outstanding employees leave with good feelings about their experience and help build an alumni network for the organization.      

This network is what attracts more top talent. "In that context, saying goodbye to some of your best people doesn't seem especially risky, does it? On the contrary, it becomes desirable, since it makes room for more up-and-comers eager for their chance," Dr. Finkelstein wrote.


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