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  • Writer's pictureAnushruti

Saving the 'goose' that lays golden eggs

Updated: Apr 2, 2022


There is an old tale of a farmer who possessed a goose that laid one golden egg each day. While the farmer was slowly becoming wealthy, he fell prey to his short-sightedness and impatience one day and killed the goose to get all the golden eggs at once. The goose died and there were no more eggs.


Employer’s philosophies of refusing to bend citing stringent policies, focusing on profits before people, failing to create an appreciative work culture, ignoring significant steps towards retention assuming everyone is replaceable and more, are all examples of the ‘short-sightedness’ that the farmer fell victim to in the story. The loss of a high performing employee has detrimental effects on the team and the organization not only in terms of loss of revenue, but also morale and productivity of remaining employees. It is crucial that organizations realize this and take necessary steps to save the gooses that lay golden eggs.


Potential cases of 'short-sightedness' that can be easily rectified:


Don’t force the 'goose' to deliver eggs on behalf of the farm for long: Overburdening the high performing employee with additional duties when another team member is not performing effectively or quits and leaves. This causes burnout for employees and, also affects the standard of work being done.


Feed the 'goose' with the due appreciation: Lack of recognition and acknowledgement of good work. While a high performing individual thrives in doing excellent work, not all such high performers are self-motivated. Most of them need acknowledgement and appreciation for the efforts and results. Losing a valued employee simply because he/she did not feel valued is a loss with a 100% blame on the employer.


Focus on the gooses’ s growth: Employees want to advance in the company but also want to advance their skills and expertise. While what the company wants is of prime importance, what the goose wants cannot be neglected. Having planned career conversations and appropriate learning interventions therefore form the key to retaining the high performers and giving them a fulfilling career.


Invest in retaining them: This investment would involve more time than money. Have regular talks with valued employees to ensure that they are heard and engaged. Stay interviews are far more important than exit interviews. Once an employee is ready to say that he/she quits, the chances of retention are very bleak. To win the battle, the approach should be proactive.


The truth is that the 'goose' is not irreplaceable, given the abundance of talent in the market. But the cost of hiring and training another one is high.

With the immense opportunities in the market, retaining the high performing employees also becomes difficult, but it is possible! All the organizations need to do is create a working environment where star performers are supported for best work, the work has purpose and achievements are celebrated. This will not only save the 'golden egg laying goose' but also attract good talent, contributing to the company’s long-term success.

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