Nashville recently received the exciting news that Amazon is bringing 5,000 new jobs to the Music City. This is great news, but in a city where unemployment is the lowest in the Southeastern United States, this may have some adverse effects. The famous Christmas Carol, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, provides a few warnings that have proven universally true in how we should treat others and may also help in the competition for talent. Consider this slightly revised rendition of the famous song:

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Amazon is coming to town

Do not be naïve about the impact that Amazon will have on your industry. They will most certainly fill the positions they seek, and while they may not take any of your employees directly, positions across Nashville will be vacated. These vacated positions will lead to a domino effect across the City’s workforce as people jockey to move into their desired positions. 51% of employees are looking for new opportunities at any given moment, statistically some of them are yours.

They’re making a list 
And checking it twice;
Gonna’ find out who’s naughty and nice
Amazon is coming to town

Are you treating your team with the dignity and respect they deserve? As Marcus Buckingham said, “people leave managers, not companies.” Promote a healthy organization and working environment if you want to keep your best talent. Are you recognizing their efforts in ways beyond just paying them? 83% of employees found recognition for contributions to be more fulfilling than rewards or gifts. This is about intrinsically motivating your employees; ie making them feel great about the value they bring to the table versus extrinsically, by the bonuses you pay them for doing great work. As Maya Angelou said, “People won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”

They see you when you’re sleeping
They know when you’re awake
They know if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

Many companies are “asleep at the wheel” when they assume that their employees are happy – their attrition rates are normal and their old ways will be satisfactory in keeping/growing employees in the future. Here are some statistics to wake folks up a little:

O! You better watch out! 
You better not cry
Better not pout 
I’m telling you why 
Amazon is coming to town

Amazon, like many large companies relocating to cities across the country, view talent availability amongst their biggest concerns. They will do whatever it takes to ensure their talent needs are met. You have to ask yourself, “am I doing everything necessary to retain our best talent?”

A few considerations that may keep the crying and pouting to a minimum next year:

Recruit your current players

Identify your star players and ensure you are motivating them to remain on your team. This is not just about pay, benefits, and bonuses – extrinsic motivators. Ask people what they love about working for your company and talk about it openly. Recognize those who are doing a great job publicly in front of their peers. Know what makes people tick and give them more of it.

Invest in your talent proactively

This is not about money, its about your time. Chances are you do not have all the answers, but you likely have quite a few or you would not be in charge. Share what you know with your talented employees because they deeply want to learn from your experience. Then, do something completely unexpected…ask their opinion and give up your time and attention long enough to sincerely listen to the answer. You might be surprised how much they have been thinking about taking your organization to new heights!

Be engaged

Find out how your talent can help your organization grow and enable them to add value proactively. If you do not have enough time, consider asking external developmental experts to help grow your talent. The fact that you and the board of directors are willing to spend some of the company’s money to retain top talent reflects commitment, loyalty, integrity, and vision for the future. These are attributes top talent wants to see in their employer and are willing to stick around for even when better extrinsic offers are available.

In the highly competitive workplace we live in today, there will always be an “Amazon” out there looking to scoop up great talent. There is no reason to be caught off guard by an Amazon. You can prepare for the inevitable through vigilance, engagement, and dedication to retaining your best people.

Don’t depend on Santa for your talent, you are old enough to know better!