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March Madness

The month of March is upon us and guess what that means? It’s time for March Madness and to get those brackets completed for what should be another exciting year of nail biting games.

Part of what makes March Madness so exciting are the upsets. The unpredictability of the tournament makes every game must see television. For example who will ever forget 15 seed St. Peter’s last year making an improbable run to the Elite Eight? Or UMBC in 2018 when as a 16 seed they toppled the team that many thought was the prohibitive favorite to win it all in Virginia in their second round game.

One question that comes up this time of year is why do these upsets happen? One reason many big favorites lose can simply be explained as not having the proper focus and attention to detail needed going into that game.

Think about that for a second. Its human nature to take some things for granted. When teams come into the NCAA Tournament off a successful season and having already beaten some of the other best teams in the country they can certainly look past an opponent that does not have anywhere near their pedigree or talent. Losing focus and assuming things will go the way they should go on paper can lead to some of the shocking results we see in the NCAA Tournament.

Business owners also are faced with their own surprises. While some surprises may be good others can catch a business off guard that can potentially put it in a vulnerable position.

Many businesses today have key employees that are integral to their daily operations. However due to the current climate these key employees may be considering other opportunities. For example recently Salesforce was caught off guard when its recently appointed co-CEO, Bret Taylor, suddenly resigned to pursue another opportunity. This left the company scrambling amid trying to reconfigure their organizational plan.

Here is something to consider. Lets say you have an employee who you have gotten to know and think they are never going to leave. And this employee runs some key function that if they did leave would set the organization significantly backwards. However you think that’s never going to happen because this person seems very happy and has been with us for a long extended period of time. And then much like Virginia was caught off guard when UMBC stood toe to toe with them you are caught off guard when that employee walks in to suddenly give notice with little explanation.

Your business now suffers major harm as there is no way another person can replace this individual in the short term and potentially as well in the long term.

So how can a business be proactive about retaining key employees? Some of the best NCAA coaches are very creative in how they keep their teams motivated even in scenarios where they seem to be at a major advantage on the court.

The good news is there are creative solutions out there that we have tailored for our clients to help with the issue of employee retention. For example what if a key employee were offered a deferred compensation plan that was paid for by the employer with cash value that would fully vest only if the employee stayed for a certain time frame? Would that employee not then be incentivized to stay around until at least that policy vests? Most likely the answer is yes and that solves the big issue of retaining key talent.

The year after Virginia was shocked by UMBC they went on to win the NCAA Tournament. That Virginia team that won it all was focused and did not take anything for granted throughout their tourney run. Retaining employees is a key issue for many businesses today and being focused as well as creative in this area can go a long way in running a successful company.