In today’s fast-paced and digitized business world, the management and leadership tools of yesterday are no longer relevant. In the past, great emphasis has been placed on compensation strategies, flexible working environments, and how to effectively motivate and retain key employees. Of course, the majority of business executives will not argue against the importance of these factors. However, recent trends in both our business landscape as well as our world, generally, have made leaders re-evaluate the tools and approaches they have traditionally employed when seeking to ensure their top talent resources remain happy and productive. Therefore, in order to minimize turnover and lessen its impact, leaders must fully understand what causes it in the first place. Here are some common reasons employees look for the exit:

  1. The company goes through a major change: At the end of the day, change is scary. If a company evolution or transition is not handled correctly, employees can easily become dissatisfied—and leave.
  2. There is a misalignment with culture: Hiring managers should seek candidates that not only have the proper qualifications but also exhibit behavior that aligns with the business. Behavior ultimately influences performance.
  3. Money isn’t the sole motivator: Of course, getting paid for your work is important, but it’s not the only driver for many employees. Other factors such as recognition, paid time off, professional development, and contributing to a greater mission are many times also key to the career decisions of an employee.

How to Improve Employee Retention

Fortunately, if your organization has a problem with employee retention, it is possible to implement strategies to course correct. Consider the following:

  1. Come up with a plan: If you are simply seeking to implement a small change at your company, then maybe a detailed plan isn’t needed. However, if you are looking to shake up your work culture, introduce new leadership, or any other type of restructuring that can “freak out” employees, it is best to ensure your people understand what is happening and why. By keeping lines of communication open on any major initiative you are less likely to have good employees head for the door.
  2. Rethink your hiring process: Ultimately, it isn’t wise to only prevent turnover once an employee is hired. A better approach is to enhance the hiring process. Obviously, while this is based on the belief that it is bad hiring practices that cause a turnover, if implemented, your business will end up ahead because you have taken the time to create an improved recruitment and selection process.
  3. Recognize jobs well done: According to a recent survey by the Council of Communication Management, when employees feel recognized for having done a job well, they are more likely to feel motivated in their day-to-day. Of course, you cannot take a cookie-cutter approach to this; after all, what might motivate one employee might not inspire another. Compensation and benefits might be welcomed by one of your team members, but another top performer might appreciate different rewards. The best way to ensure top talent continues to produce their best work is to understand what excites them each morning when they head to the office.

How to Ensure Your Business Keeps Top Talent

Firstly, it is important to respect the professional status of your top performers. Consider these ideas:

  1. Promote networking and peer reinforcement: A top-performing employee usually responds better and is more motivated when they are recognized by their peers as opposed to management. This type of support tends to come from informal networking—both internally and externally. Via networking, top performers have the opportunity to evaluate their success while remaining cognizant of developments in their personal area of expertise.
  2. Keep information flowing: Skilled employees are constantly looking for new knowledge and rely on good information in order to do their jobs correctly. Therefore, make sure you are communicating as a leader in order to help your top talent remain savvy and up to date.
  3. Create professional recognition opportunities: Your top performers are driven by the pride they feel when they accomplish something new. Therefore, it is necessary for you to showcase their contributions as they happen. These recognition opportunities can come in the form of entering competitions, presenting at a company event, or publishing work in a company newsletter or business journal.

Create a Challenge

The reason your top performer is ranked in that category is that they enjoy being challenged and charged with new tasks or responsibilities. So, your job as a leader is to make sure they don’t feel stagnant or bored.

  1. Encourage your employees to rise to the occasion: True professionals enjoy the fulfillment they find in their work. Promote a work culture that goes above the average or mundane and encourage your top talent to do more or uncovers challenges to make the business better.
  2. Ensure they have the tools they need: Professionals who possess true skill and expertise find great value in the tools that are made available to them. Don’t hamper your employees by providing inadequate equipment and resources—this will only make a top performer resentful and frustrated. In order to boost productivity, invest in resources so they can work smarter not harder.

Take the Burden Off Management

Top performers easily grow weary of having to deal with bureaucratic red tape and navigating heavily siloed organizations that have dozens of chains of command that need to be consulted on every decision. Therefore, promote a flat and productive organization by:

  1. Eliminating red tape and keeping the business simple: No one wants to have 15 bosses and no worker wants to spend a bunch of time in unproductive meetings or filling out pointless reports. Promote a sense of independence and professionalism while eliminating redundancies that bog a top performer down.
  2. Make processes, procedures, and job descriptions simple: When a top performer is faced with the back end of the work instead of the work that they are responsible for, expect productivity to suffer. Enable your employees to get more done without having to jump through hoops every time they enter the office.
  3. Ensure employees know how their contribution fits into the organization’s mission: Most people want to know that what they are doing and the projects they are working on actually matters to the overarching goals of the company. Make sure you are explaining the context of projects and how they fit into the company’s mission to ensure job satisfaction remains high.
  4. Remember that your employees are people—not cogs in a wheel: Realize that non-monetary motivators exist and that your team members will appreciate you simply thinking of them and remembering that they are people, too. Send a birthday card to the employee at their home, arrange for a top performer to have a three day weekend, coordinate a fun team building event when everyone works together to meet a goal, or simply call a staff member into your office to offer a personal thank you.

As a leader, it is your responsibility to guarantee that your employees have the information, resources, and opportunities they need in order to feel valued and grounded at your company. Yes, this can seem like a balancing act, but when done correctly, you ensure your top performers stick around for the long haul.

For more information on how to improve employee retention and satisfaction, reach out to Performance Staff Solutions today.