How to Retain Top Talent

Published: Sep 09, 2015 By

According to Payscales 2015 Compensation Best Practices Report, retention is an increasing priority for employers. 63% of employers consider retention a top line item, a whopping 43% increase from just five years ago. 

Companies realize that no matter what they wish to achieve, be it growth, transformation, or even staying in the game, the ability to harness the power of top talent is key to their success. We currently sit in a candidate’s market, which means the demand for great people is higher than the supply, which means potential and current employees have many more options. Dissatisfaction with employment means that a seasoned, valued employee could quite comfortably find a better deal elsewhere, completely upsetting the organization chart and production right along with it. With that in mind, companies are becoming quite proactive in their efforts to keep their people.

To ensure your company is performing at peak capacity, you’ll want to do everything you can to connect your best and brightest with your goals, which requires a retention strategy. Here are some steps you’ll want to take in that direction:

1.  Start On Day One - Your retention strategy starts the day someone comes onboard. Poor orientation and a lack of direction are some of the major reasons cited by new hires who leave within their first year. Creating a strong orientation program along with integrating and providing clear, concise direction early on is a vital first step to long-term employee engagement.

2.  Mind Your Managers – One of the best ways to ensure people leave is to bury them in an infrastructure with poor leadership. Employees who suffer lack of clear expectations, insufficient coaching and feedback, and with a manager who either manages with too heavy a hand or with seemingly no accountability at all can have a big impact on the longevity of a hire. Any of these management ills can leave an employee frustrated, underappreciated and unchallenged. Be sure to offer constant coaching and feedback along with clear expectations for your employees as well as your management team. As the extension of the employer brand, your managers represent the company to your talented employees. They are the face of the corporation to everyone who comes into contact with them. Make sure the right people are representing your interests and caring for your assets accordingly.

3.  Growth and Career Challenges Are Not Optional Extras - Talented people wish to be stretched and thrive on opportunities to grow and develop their skills. Fail to provide such opportunities for people to learn new skills, your best people may start seeking opportunities elsewhere. Career development discussions must be held on a regular and ongoing basis. Those who invest in their talent reap the greatest rewards.

4.  Reward and Recognize Performance - Talented people are quick to learn their worth in the marketplace, and while compensation may not top their list of priorities, it’s still quite high on their list of desires.  Too often than not, companies wait until a resignation letter hits the desk to offer to address compensation issues, and by then it is too little too late. Pay your people well and reward for high performance. You’ll see long-term returns if you divide the spoils among your biggest winners.

Engage your employees – Conversations about what could be done to make the work environment better are usually left to the exit interview, at which point it’s too late to save what could have been a great employee. Don’t let this happen to you: conduct regular check-in discussions. There is no better way to find out what an employee thinks than to simply ask them. Check-in discussions not only help bubble warning signs to the surface, but they provide a real opportunity to address issues or frustrations before it’s too late. Build in check-in discussions as part of your regular feedback discussions with your employees and address employment issues constantly, not just at the very end.

It makes good business sense to hold on to your best assets, which are your people. Employ the strategies above and watch your retention rise in what could arguably be one of the toughest employment markets in recent history. If you’re in business for the long game, retention of top talent is one of the strategies that will get and keep you there.

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