Guidelines for Retaining Top Talent

Author: Joseph "Bud" Haney | Source: HCI | Published: December 12, 2012

Employee turnover is about more than just the emotional loss of saying goodbye to a familiar face. Recruiting and replacing an employee is an expensive process. There are the immediate costs of interviewing and training a new employee, as well as the long term harm and loss of morale as a result of losing a top performer.
Retaining and motivating top talent is one of the highest priority concerns for chief financial officers, just as important as managing healthcare insurance and controlling costs. Losing a high performer could have damaging effects on a company’s overall profits and development. Once you’ve attracted top talent, you must respond in a way that will help you retain it.
 

  • Hire the right people from the start.

Employee assessments take the guesswork out of finding the right employee. You can select from candidates based on skills, experience and personality.  Hiring the ideal candidate for each position involves balancing the job critical characteristics with the skills each candidate currently possesses. Look for potential when seeking new employees and pay attention to how the candidate fits with your existing company culture. The top performers already at your company provide a basis for judging what to look for when hiring more top performers.
 

  • Understand why top performers leave.

Many people will leave a company if they conflict with the culture or coworkers. If there’s no loyalty, your top performer will feel no obligation to stay. Make sure to look at the whole picture, as the problem could very well be with you. In a Profiles International survey, of the reasons people give for changing jobs, 30% said they left because of their manager. Maintaining a healthy employee-manager relationship is one of the primary ways an organization can help keep top performers happy.
 

  • Allow for employee growth.

Outlining and defining benchmarks for employee growth can start on the first day of the job. One benefit of using an assessment test in your hiring practices is that you will have an objective measure of your employee’s strengths and weaknesses. Share these results with your new hires. Discovering their strengths and weaknesses can motivate them toward specific targets for improvement. If you nurture your employees and show them how they can grow with the company, they will be more likely to stick around.
 

  • Invest in your best employees.

The average employee tenure in 2010 was only 4.4 years. You will not be able to overcome this statistic for every employee, but you can retain your strongest employees with stretch assignments and  a comprehensive career development plan. Stagnant positions will frustrate top performers. Invest in your best employees by giving them opportunities to take on more responsibility or build their skill-sets. This can be through continued education or internal promotions. As your company’s need for an employee increases, demonstrate that to them with increased benefits or a raise.
 

  • Be a motivating force.

High potential employees seek a range of benefits from flexible work hours to company wellness programs. Nurturing the employee life cycle of your top performers means communicating and meeting their expectations. Your management team must continue to be a motivating force by effectively responding to employee needs. You can also motivate employees by recognizing their efforts and rewarding their successes in a consistent, affirmative way.
 
How have you helped to retain top talent within your organization? Share in the comment box below!
 
 
Joseph “Bud” Haney is cofounder of Profiles International, and serves as its president and Chief Executive Officer. After his baseball career, he worked for an international human resources development company in several executive roles before becoming its president. In addition, he is a coauthor of the best-selling business guide 40 Strategies for Winning in Business and the book, Leadership Charisma, written to help people harness their personal and professional charisma to improve their business and careers.