Retaining top talent – 5 habits of successful companies

Written by Amber Thomas, former Consultant
Previously published by PSI Talent Management, prior to becoming Talogy.

After you put in the time, effort and investment to hire the best employees possible, you need to retain that talent. Many books have been written and exit interviews conducted as employers look for the secret on how to retain talent and keep their good employees satisfied.

Salary, retirement plans, and vacation benefits are high on the list of why those great employees took the job, but they are not reasons enough to keep them in your employ for the long haul. Job satisfaction will increase your employee retention rate. Here are a few strategies you can use to retain top talent:

  1. Create an environment that makes your employees feel like an asset to your company. Don’t make them feel like overhead. Allow them to feel secure in their job. Greet them by name, letting them know that you know who they are and what their contributions are to the company. Get their input about rules or changes that may need to be made. Encourage goal-setting and let them make their own choices as often as possible.
  2. Make expectations and goals of the company clear. Be sure you have job descriptions so your employees know what is required of them. If there are changes that need to be made, don’t expect them to learn that by osmosis. You must communicate directly and clearly. Good employees want to please you, but they need to know what it is they need to do to make that happen.
  3. Create an open and honest work environment. Give feedback on work performed and be willing to listen, really listen, to the concerns of your employees.  Chance meetings in the hall where social greetings are exchanged are good, but do not take the place of actually sitting down face-to-face and discussing any work-related concerns.  Be open and listen to new ideas. Accept suggestions for problem-solving. Be available and open when your employee asks for your guidance. Keep your top talent informed about what is happening with the company – don’t let rumors take over. If there are problems or set-backs, communicate this.
  4. Provide opportunities to grow and learn, and let your employees know there is room for advancement in your company. Provide tuition for continuing education classes. Give challenging and stimulating work. Tap into their passion and allow them to focus their time and energy on projects they can enjoy. Let them know what career development solutions you may have for them and what opportunities are available for them to grow with the company.
  5. Recognize and reward good work. Monetary bonuses are always nice, but recognition of a job well done goes a long way to creating good will and loyalty. Recognition needs to be specific: ‘Good job’ is acceptable, but ‘Good job on the Nelson project’ is better. In order to retain talent, you must make them feel appreciated, respected, and worthwhile. Recent studies show that when employees feel undervalued and unappreciated, they look for other employment. They need to feel that their contributions to the business are important. But the feedback and praise must be sincere. Top talent is smart enough to know the difference between sincere appreciation and platitudes.

Above all else, an effective hiring process builds the foundation for all of the tactics listed here. Position yourself to choose candidates who are a good fit for both the job and the organization: Be sure to determine what competencies and skills are required for success, and then use valid hiring tools to identify individuals who possess these characteristics. You’ll be rewarded, not only with a strong employee retention rate, but also with loyal employees who contribute to your organization’s success – for the long-term.

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