Keep Top Talent by Making Them CEO of Their Own Company

Brain drain is a real concern for small businesses. A talented colleague’s capacity may expand faster than the business around her, making it tempting for the team member to leave for more responsibility and a bigger pay check at a larger firm. Chicago’s Tasty Catering has found a unique way to keep high capacity colleagues on the team: help them start their own business.

Watch the video below to hear more about Tasty’s employee-partner businesses, and to view the corresponding discussion guide.

How to use this video:  Watch this video with your senior leadership team, then use the questions below to launch a discussion on unique ways your company could prevent brain drain. 

Discussion Guide

With help from Tasty Catering’s owners, high capacity team members have started related businesses such as a trucking company, a marketing company, and a gift basket company. The new CEOs stay on at Tasty Catering while running their own companies, which allows Tasty to retain high-level talent.

With this in mind, discuss the video with your team:

  • Is “brain drain” a problem at your company? Do you frequently lose top talent because you lack opportunities for growth? Make a quick list of the last five talented employees who moved out of your organization. Why did they leave?  How are you currently addressing this problem?
  • Are there related businesses that could form alongside your company, to provide goods or services or meet other needs of your company or customers? Use a white board to create a visual map of opportunities. Is your company ready and able to pursue these potential markets? If not … are there employees who might?
  • Spend a few minutes discussing the possibility of partnering with high-talent team members to start outside enterprises. Are you inspired by any ideas?
  • What risks and threats seem most apparent in the concept?

Share your stories: Have you successfully started a spin-off business? How did it work? Share your stories and processes here.

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