How To Retain Great Talent: Hiring Is Only The Beginning
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How To Retain Great Talent: Hiring Is Only The Beginning

Great managers know that the best employees are volunteers. Of course, these employees need to receive a paycheck; however, stellar employees work for their company of choice because they want to, not because they have to.

Top-notch employees have their pick of organizations for which to work. If an exemplary person is working for your company, it’s for more reasons than just the salary. If you are fortunate enough to have a solid workforce, it’s important to implement employee retention strategies to ensure your employees stay happy so you won’t see an increase in turnover.

Employee Retention Strategies That Work

On the flip side, if you are experiencing more turnover than you would like to see in your organization, it may be time to learn how to retain employees by implementing a few key strategies designed to keep people happy in your organization.

1) Get The Right People On Board

In Good to Great, author Jim Collins published his findings of a management study performed in the ’90s. One of the strategies derived from that study was that companies should focus on “getting the right people on the bus and then into the right seats”. Collins’ team realized that focusing on people should come before focusing on KPIs and profit margins. Once you have an “A-plus” workforce, then you can focus on the business at hand.

Talent retention begins with the hiring process. Make sure you are interviewing the right candidates for the position on your team. Set up time for the candidates to meet with tenured team members to ensure they are a good cultural fit. Consider inviting other managers to join you during interviews to gather additional opinions. Ask both behavioral and situational interview questions. Spend time developing your internal interview process.

Google has an internal tool where interviewers can choose the attributes that they want in a candidate and then receive an interview book with tailored questions. After the interview, a rubric is used to score candidates, which allows for the consistent hiring of top talent. Even obtaining an interview at Google is a feat, getting hired means you are the best of the best.

2) Plan Some One-on-One Time

Once the right candidates are hired, take the necessary measures to ensure your talent retention strategies are working. You can’t leave the best talent alone to fend for themselves while you are focusing on other business matters. Set aside time to meet with your employees on a regular basis.

If you have standard meetings in place, go the extra mile and invite them to lunch or simply to have coffee. It’s important to top talent to feel recognized and getting some one-on-one time with the boss will have long-term benefits.

If you are trying to determine how to retain good employees, look to the people who currently work for you. Managers can count on their best employees to have good ideas. Exemplary employees often focus on how they can do their jobs better as well as how the organization can run more efficiently. These people don’t generally spend time complaining – they look at situations with fresh eyes and a positive approach.

If you invest your time meeting with key personnel, you may come away with new and innovative ideas and strategies. Top employees love to see their ideas come to fruition and will go the extra mile with you to make that happen.

3) Remember, Clear Expectations Are Key

Clear communication and expectations are not only necessary to retaining good employees – they are key strategies for ensuring they remain content. Invest the time articulating tasks and be especially clear on what you want the outcome to be.

Avoid shooting a cryptic instant message or half-baked email. If possible, set up a time to meet with your employees so they can ask the right questions. Offer assistance whenever possible. Let your employees know you are available to review drafts and will always make time to answer questions. There is nothing more disheartening to a great employee than to present a final product only to hear “that’s not what we were looking for.”

4) Incentives Go A Long Way

Sitcom writers have a field day making jokes about employee morale programs, but to your key talent, recognition is a major factor. Consider implementing an employee recognition program in your organization. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Recognize your best contributors by sending out a company-wide email alerting the rest of the organization to your employee’s big contribution. Celebrate successes with spot bonuses or gift cards.

If your organization doesn’t have the budget for financial incentives, consider giving an extra day off or offering flex-time. Remember, your best employees aren’t in it for the money alone, so if you are considering ways to improve employee retention, providing incentives should be at the top of your list.

5) Invest In Professional Development

Another crucial aspect of talent retention is to offer professional development opportunities. Your best employees want – and need – to develop their skills. They are hungry for knowledge and will always be on a quest to learn and improve themselves, professionally. Tuition reimbursement programs are highly regarded by employees who want to continue their education.

Offer to pay for online or eLearning opportunities. Show employees you value and trust them by offering to send them to relevant conferences or conventions. People love to be singled out to travel for the organization. It’s a badge of honor so use it as one of your top employee retention ideas.

6) Don’t Neglect Tenured Employees

Your organization may currently have a higher rate of turnover than you want to see. How do you implement employee engagement and retention strategies for tenured employees? Basically, you can use the same techniques mentioned above. You can implement new incentive programs or start offering professional development.

However, one key mistake managers make is not acknowledging that there is a problem in the organization, which causes good employees to look for employment elsewhere.

It’s never too late to increase employee retention and one way to start is by engaging your tenured employees. Talk to the people who work for you. Ask them for input. If people are already interviewing outside the organization, they won’t have a problem telling you why. Gather their input and use their feedback to build your staff retention strategies.

If you have your finger on the corporate pulse, you should be able to tell when morale is down. Look for ways you can improve this for your team. When employees feel that they’re part of the solution, they may decide to stay – especially if they know the culture is going to improve with management’s assistance.

Think “out of the box” when it comes to engaging your tenured employees. For example, why not invite all employees to an off-site meeting for an entire day to talk to leadership about what’s working and what isn’t?

Schedule time with your current employees and allow them to be open and honest without fear of retaliation. Your employees are the people in the trenches every day and they can give you vital information if they feel it won’t be held against them.

Employee Retention Ideas To Keep Them On Your Side

Once you put your staff retention strategies into action, make sure to follow up. Ask your folks if the ideas you implemented are actually making their lives better. Meet with your people regularly so they know they are being heard.

Don’t be afraid to pull the plug on things that aren’t working: if the idea of flex-time is not appealing to your employees, research other ideas. Use LinkedIn or other professional networking sites to research what other companies are doing to keep their top talent. Ask your friends and colleagues to share their employee retention tips.

Show your workers you are flexible and that you care about their happiness. There is truly no greater way to retain good employees.

If you follow the necessary steps to ensure you hire the best people and then work towards the retention of employees, life will be much easier for you as a manager. Make sure you have the right people in the right positions in your organization, spend time with them regularly to hear their ideas and provide them with the right amount of praise.

Great managers know that investing the proper amount of time with their teams provides great results for them, the teams and the entire organization.

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