Talent Management

Employee retention: How to keep your A-players

Watch Insperity’s Fridays With Vistage webinar (below) for more great ideas on recruiting and retaining great employees.

Your company might not have a retention strategy.

But should it?

After working hard to attract the right employees, you want them to stay. So why wouldn’t you put the same energy toward keeping your recruits around?

An out-of-date or half-baked plan, however, is just as bad as no strategy at all – you need a retention strategy that’s fit to keep your competition at bay and your employees in the building.

Here’s how you can ensure you have the right arsenal for an effective retention effort.

Avoid the pitfalls

Too often, businesses think of a retention strategy as being one-size-fits-all. The trouble is, not all your employees fit the same mold.

As logic would lead you, individualization is the key to making it work. While there are hundreds of ways to spark motivation, it’s up to you to start the fire in your employees. For example, if you know an employee loves a certain restaurant, you could reward them with a gift card for reaching a goal.

The key is to identify what really keeps your employees engaged in their job so you can uncover how to develop trust and, ultimately, loyalty.

Understand how the workforce is changing

You probably know someone who spent their whole career at one company. But in the age of the “career consumer,” that’s now much less common as people tend to switch jobs with greater frequency in search of more satisfying work.

Many employees in today’s workforce – particularly millennials – seek jobs with greater meaning. In other words, it’s not always about the money. In fact, being challenged and interested in their work is one of the top reasons employees choose not to leave a position.

Employees in any size organization will face challenges. However, small businesses naturally have an upper hand in this arena. If you can attract your top employees during those early, demanding years, you can grow your employees with your business while simultaneously keeping employees engaged with challenging work.

Recognize your talent

A competitive salary and benefits package alone isn’t enough.

You must recognize and reward your best performers if you want them to stay. While this might sound expensive, it doesn’t have to be costly to be worthwhile.

For example, you could provide gift cards, reserved parking spots, extra days off or early release.

With recognition, the gesture is what counts. You can earn major accolades with even something as simple as a jeans day.

Create opportunity

Of course you want to keep your employees in their positions when they’re doing a great job. But you can’t do that forever. Not if you want your rock star employees to stay.

Your high performers are seeking advancement, and it’s your job to provide opportunity. If you don’t allow your highly coveted team members to advance, your competition will.

A-players can make an impact no matter where they are in your organizational chart, especially in a small business. And tenured employees make great mentors – as your company grows and people change roles, they can be great guides to new employees.

Just be honest with employees if a promotion isn’t available right away. Open communication builds trust and respect. Instead of a promotion, you could give an employee more responsibility in their current role.

For example, allow them to take the lead on a new project so you can continue building your employee’s confidence while keeping them engaged in their work.

Manage the right way

How often have you heard someone say they quit their job because of their direct manager?

A manager’s relationship with their direct reports is critical to the company’s success. When that relationship isn’t well managed, it creates a disconnect between business priorities and individual work.

For retention to be possible, managers are tasked with creating an environment that employees enjoy. To do so, it’s essential to get to know employees on a more personal basis. When you understand what makes them tick, or what their interests are, you better understand how to motivate and reward your team.

Get to know your team

To develop a positive environment for your employees, ongoing communication is a must.

One-on-one meetings can help you do this while also providing an opportunity to review performance goals, address current needs or just give praise and thanks.

If you can, consider taking these meeting off-site. Take it to a local coffee shop, for example. Use this as a chance to just chat, share family photos or ask about vacation plans.

Just a few minutes can go miles in terms of building loyalty and motivation. And your reward for your hard work will be returned with hard work from your employees.

Need help with your retention strategy?

For 30 years, Insperity has been helping businesses like yours manage and retain their staff. Learn how we can help your business do the same.

Category: Talent Management

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About the Author: Jeff Miller

Jeff Miller is the director of corporate learning and performance at Insperity, which includes the Center of Excellence and Virtual Learning Center. He holds a certificate in Human Performance Improvement from the American Society for Traini…

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