Retaining H.E.N.R.Y. – Keeping Your Highest-Value Talent

by Jovan Hackley | Nov 30, 2016

The ugly truth is that the payoff for every hire isn’t the same. Most don’t like to talk about it, but if you’ve spent more than a year in management and benefits, you know some hires outshine the rest, help make your business, and, ultimately, are hard to lose.

The reality is that whether through their new ideas, next-level work ethic, or sheer commitment, these rockstars grow your organization’s value. The other reality is that they probably worked somewhere else before they joined your team.

But, why? Who would let a rockstar with a million-dollar idea, mind, or potential jump ship?

The simple answer: Too many times we don’t have the tools or systems in place to spot, grow, and continually engage the high-value talent we’ve helped create.


According to recent Gallup data, the percentage of employees who would leave for a raise jumps from 20 percent to 54 percent when they’re aren’t engaged.

For many companies, cash is king when it comes retention. But, if your employees haven’t been engaged, for more than half of them it’s probably too late.

The amount of money it takes to engage those who help you get ahead of your competitors, reach more people, and grow your business is nothing compared to its payoff.

So, why are so many companies with large budgets still struggling to recruit and retain these rockstars who I like to call H.E.N.R.Y.?


H.E.N.R.Y stands for “High Earners (who are) Not Rich Yet.”

They are the employees who could help grow your company or team but may not be highly compensated today. And while they haven’t maxed out their salary potential, they do show clear signs that they’re bound to achieve and drive success wherever they work.


Yes, you can replace any employee in the short term. However, as Henry David Thoreau said, “The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”

The full “cost” of losing a H.E.N.R.Y. doesn’t always show up on your bottom line. It doesn’t even fully impact team members the day an employee says goodbye for the last time. The cost of a H.E.N.R.Y. is a long-term cost that turns companies from innovators one day into struggling brands trying to survive the next.

Former Blockbuster executive Jonathan Baskin admitted in 2014, “Digital content distribution didn’t kill the video store. We did it to ourselves.”

Baskin, in a piece on the Death of Blockbuster, tells a story that’s all too familiar about a few innovators from days gone by. From Sears and Sun Microsystems, to MySpace and Nokia, the story reads the same. Somewhere on the road to growth, slowly but surely, the H.E.N.R.Y.’s that helped make these companies great moved on and so did their signature spirit and attitude of innovation.


Since none of us wants our companies to be tomorrow’s Blockbuster, this is one of those questions we’re going to be answering for a while. We’ll be posting here in the weeks and months to come about H.E.N.R.Y., but for now, here are a few posts that can help you retain the business rockstars that keep your organization on the cutting edge. Check these out:


by Jovan Hackley | Nov 30, 2016

by Jovan Hackley | Nov 30, 2016

by Jovan Hackley | Nov 30, 2016