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Ten Tips For Engaging & Retaining Top Talent

Posted                                  | 0 Comment(s)                       |  by Tamara Tasche

Engaging and retaining top talent is one of the most pressing HR issues in 2012 and this trend will likely continue as we move into 2013.  Retention of key employees is critical for a number of reasons, some of which include:

  • Retention of top talent ensures the long term health and success of the business (i.e., customer satisfaction, sales, effective succession planning and perpetuation of organizational knowledge).
  • There are significant costs to turnover including lost training investments and knowledge, unhappy coworkers, reduced productivity due to vacant positions, and costly candidate searches.
  • Fewer Generation X employees are prepared for leadership roles to take the place of retiring Baby Boomer executives.

Current trends in the job market raise the risk of losing good employees.  Hiring has increased.  Social media has made it easier for recruiters and competitors to find quality talent.  Employee satisfaction is low due to organizational downsizing, lack of salary increases, cuts in pay and/or work hours, reduced benefits, and increased workloads and expectations.  The burning imperative to do more with less continues to take its toll on employee engagement and loyalty!

Brand management is another hot topic these days.  Branding strategies frequently fall under the Marketing umbrella and seem focused primarily on external customers.  Unfortunately, we may not pay enough attention to our internal customers and fail to realize how their disengagement can impact our reputation and brand as an employer.

So what can be done to create a desirable employment situation that allows for acquisition, engagement and retention of top talent?  We recommend the following tips to engage and retain top talent:

  1. On-board new employees well so they are fully prepared for their new roles.
  2. Clarify expectations and deliverables to minimize role overlap.
  3. Assign high-potential employees to managers who will serve as a mentor and internal coach.
  4. Provide balanced feedback (positive and constructive) and demonstrate appreciation for hard work.  Publicly praise exceptional performance.
  5. Focus on long-term employee development and building skills necessary for career success. These may include mentoring programs, external coaching, networking events, online learning resources, cross-functional opportunities, and stretch assignments.
  6. Pay top talent at, or somewhat above, market value.
  7. Help employees balance work and life.  Provide flexible or remote working options.
  8. Engage employees in direct communication.  Involve them in important decisions and keep them informed of new developments.  Listen to employees and take their suggestions into account when making decisions.
  9. Hold managers accountable for positive people skills.  Are they talking to their team members in ways that inspire and motivate them?  Do they discuss career and development opportunities with them?  Unskilled, incompatible, insensitive supervisors and mismanagement are among the primary reasons employees leave an organization!
  10. Create a good work environment   Manage conflict, address behavior that impacts the team negatively, communicate expectations and create a comfortable physical working environment.

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