Recently a friend of mine resigned from his job. When asked by his employer what he was moving on to, he responded “Independent contractor work”. To this he received a reply of, “Well, I do not think you are going to be happy doing that. Maybe we just should not hire the best people, they keep leaving”. What?!
It is not about not hiring the best people, it is about giving the best people jobs that will keep them engaged and wanting to perform at their best. Giving the best people or very smart people menial work is something that does more harm than good. Challenging smart people is what they want. They want to have to work and giving them busy work does nothing to accomplish this.
From what I have found, smart people also have an entrepreneurial spirit, depending on their personality and want to manage projects as well as work on them. They love solving problems, both big and small, and really enjoy finding that little piece of code that makes the project that much better.
So a word to employers, if you want to keep your best people, your money makers, keep them happy. Keeping them happy involves more than a foosball table and free soda, it involves challenging work and encouragement to create innovative solutions.