- Pay less than the prevailing market wage.
- Give less than average raises. (which compounds the above problem two fold)
- Do not have a bonus structure that rewards your top employees.
- Do not give stock to key employees thereby eliminating incentive to see the company do well.
- Give your top employees assignments that are completely uninteresting.
- Do not communicate to your employees how you plan on allowing them to grow their careers.
I am one who believes you should not complain about your current work situation because if you think you are underpaid, overworked, etc. it is up to you to prove your employer wrong. We live in a free society where one is free to work or not work for any given employer. I have had opportunities to leave before. In every case there was more money, more stock, better work etc. There was always some incentive to work hard to see the company do well. (I did not leave until now because even though the offers were good, I knew I could do better and I was not looking to leave my company, even if it was bad, for just any other opportunity)
I'm just not sure what delusion top management is under to believe that they can grow a bad company to a great company with talent that is below the competition. I am not advocating that a company goes overboard. I'm not suggesting you should pamper your talent or give them excessive perks. I am simply saying that you have to provide some incentive for top talent. Hoping top talent wants to work for you "just cause" will never work.