Six Ways to Keep Top Talent 

It’s a common theme at the moment – companies are struggling to find good people and to keep them. Gone are the days of people having a job for life, now, people change jobs as often as they change underwear, or so it seems. 

Business leaders know the importance of retaining good talent and the costs associated with losing staff and hiring and training new staff. It makes sense for businesses to create a retention strategy for their own staff, to ensure they attract and hang on to good talent. 

Here are some ideas on how to do just that; 

1. Identify High-Potential Employees:

Identify a criteria for ‘Top Talent’ or ‘Talent we wish to retain’. Having iit actually written down helps your leadership team to ensure you are all on the same page with those you want to attract or nurture and support within the business. Use a combination of performance reviews, feedback from managers, and assessments to pinpoint individuals with potential. Implement a robust talent identification process to identify high-potential employees using recruitment agencies, LinkedIn, referral programs etc..

2. Nurture High-Potential Individuals:

Now that you have identified the people you want to keep, you need to put strategies in place to ensure they are fulfilled and satisfied in their roles within the business. Managers should work with them to create personalised development plans that align with their career goals and create opportunities for them to grow and progress within the business. Ensure you can provide adequate training, mentoring, and stretch assignments to address specific skill gaps and career aspirations.Some specific ideas could be a mix of the following; 

  • Provide opportunities for future leadership development – specialised programs that focus on strategic thinking, decision-making, and other key leadership skills.
  • Provide access to executive education, workshops, and coaching for targeted skill development.
  • Pair high-potential employees with mentors or coaches who can provide guidance, share experiences, and offer insights into leadership roles.
  • Encourage regular feedback sessions to track progress and address challenges.
  • Provide challenging and strategic assignments that expose high-potential employees to different aspects of the business.
  • Rotate them through various departments to broaden their understanding and skills.
  • Facilitate networking opportunities for high-potential employees, both internally and externally.
  • Encourage participation in industry events and conferences to broaden their professional connections

3. Create a Challenging Work Environment:

Don’t allow their roles or work culture to stagnate, the last thing you want is for your ambitious, talented employees to get bored and look elsewhere to fully utilise their talents and potential. Leaders can do this by identifying a compelling aspiration for their teams. It’s important to ensure you have processes in place to evoke the optimum levels of engagement and performance – think about how much effort we put into this and  achieved in the early days of responding to Covid. When engagement is at it’s best, participants come up with compelling goals that will be a game changer in their area. 

4. Give credit where credit’s due:

Start of the new year by revisiting and revising your recognition program and ensure Top Talent is catered for. Consider non-monetary rewards such as flexible work schedules, additional holidays and other perks. Offer flexible work schedules or remote work options to improve work-life balance and to fit in with the busy lives of your important employees. And be realistic when it comes to pay. There’s a bit of a catch-22 going on at the moment, where many companies have put a freeze on pay rises or bonuses but people are struggling with the cost of living.

From talking to people lately, many feel the best way to get more money is to leave their current job and get a new, higher paying job. They feel they have better negotiation power going down this path. Often, if top talent are satisfied in other areas of the job and are salary-driven, a pay rise will be enough to tip them over and retain them. Consider also the invisible costs of losing that person, hiring a replacement, risking them being ‘not the right fit’ and having to spend months training them. 

5. Maintain open communication:

Set up regular one-on-one meetings to understand employees’ career aspirations and discuss how their goals align with the organisation. Consider creating a Top Talent group where members meet to explore challenges, exchange ideas etc.

When staff do leave make sure you conduct good exit interviews to get a thorough understanding on why they are leaving, what would have made them stay and what you can do differently in the future to better retain top talent.

6. Involvement in Decision-Making:

Consider involving high-potential employees in strategic discussions and decision-making processes, thereby giving them opportunities to contribute to the organisation’s vision and direction in order to keep them engaged, committed and fulfilled. 

I would love to help your business set up some strategies to retain and attract top talent in 2024. If you and your team want to kick off the year on the right foot, get in touch today, I’d love to help.

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