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Companies need top talent, and they need top talent to stay. But unfortunately, as the war for talent hots up, employee supply is limited and demand for the best talent increases. 

Today, workers have never had so many options. If they don't like a work environment or job, numerous companies are willing to offer them the surroundings, perks and culture that they seek. Whereas for businesses, this turnover can result in unfilled positions, overworked staff and reduced profits. Moreover, losing top talent is expensive. For example, to replace a manager making $40,000 a year can cost between $20,000 to $30,000 in recruiting and training expenses.

So, to ensure you have the right people in your roles, businesses must become better employers to retain and engage their workforce effectively.

With examples from the largest and most successful organizations, this article looks at how you can create a great retention strategy. To keep hold of your top talent, stimulate new ideas, challenge current thinking and exploit opportunities. We explore how you can do this through:

  • Your hiring and onboarding strategy
  • Offering consistent feedback and recognition
  • Avenues for professional development
  • Incentives that acknowledge employees for their outstanding work

How to improve the retention of your top-performing employees


Create a hiring strategy that captures the proper interest

Hiring the right employees is easier said than done. Top employees want to work somewhere they identify with, a company with the right values, and a role that gives them purpose. So, to best showcase your organization, you need to find your USP. What makes your workplace and roles the right place for top talent. When you find the message you wish to deliver, incorporate it into your recruitment marketing. So the first thing prospective candidates see is what makes you better than the rest and suited to them.

If you can source and hire the right people, it can result in them staying and growing as crucial components of your organization for years to come. But, to do that, you must be transparent. When you deliver a realistic job preview, it can impact retention. If candidates know the nature of your organization and what the role entails, they are under no illusions of your requirements when they say yes. For 37% of hiring managers, new hires would stay longer if the company delivered more clarity during the hiring process.


Getting your feet under the table: An excellent onboarding experience

How you support employees' acclimatization to their new work environment is integral to retaining top talent. The work done in shifting their perspective from an outsider to acceptance is crucial. Successful onboarding can help new hires achieve the responsibility, knowledge and relationships that help them complete excellent work and build the sense that they are an essential part of the organization.

To help deliver an excellent onboarding experience that increases employee's ease in their new workplace and ensures they wish to stay for a long time, you should consider:

  • A friendly welcome into their new surroundings, someone ready to greet them on their first day, their desk and all practicalities sorted before they arrive.
  • Regular interaction and support during the integration period. Face-to-face time with the responsible manager and follow-up meetings six months and a year after joining to hear how they are finding their job and the environment
  • The assignment of a mentor, someone on their team who can offer insight into the minutiae of company life
  • The creation of formal and informal social activities to build connections with colleagues. It offers new hires the chance to get to know one another and embed themselves into the relationships that underscore a company.
  • For 50% of employees, if they have a best friend at work, they feel they have a stronger connection to their job and the company.

A poor onboarding experience can start a job negatively. However, it can improve the connection new employees feel to an organization if onboarding is done right.

Feeling appreciated and recognized for your work

Companies that recognize employees regularly are 41% more likely to see increased employee retention and 34% more engagement. So, to improve the retention of key personnel, show how much you value your employees through words or other means.

For example, Intuit, a software company, looks to shine a light on outstanding performances from its staff. So alongside delivering specific acknowledgement, the employee gets to pick a reward, whether a gift card or a charitable donation.

Which, in turn, has two major benefits. Firstly, it can help create a performance-driven attitude among teams. Everyone wants to be acknowledged, motivating teams to deliver better performances to achieve this recognition. But, most importantly, when it comes to retaining key personnel, recognition lets employees know that their efforts aren't taken for granted. 

Recognition enables companies to communicate their happiness around performance, behavior, upholding company values and conveying the importance of their staff to organizational success. And for employees, it can improve their desire to stay somewhere they are appreciated.

Providing avenues for professional development

Supporting professional development and creating an environment that promotes continuous learning can lift employees, improve business processes and boost retention.

68% of workers globally are willing to retrain and learn new skills. As the world enters a challenging digital age, the ability to learn new technical skills is highly valued. Therefore, for employees to continue learning, supported by an organization that is happy to invest in their growth is significant.

The chance to learn and grow shows employees they are an integral part of a company's future. The investment in them as individuals and workers improves their career opportunities and shows how the company wishes them to succeed.

Moreover, creating personal development programs for employees can help them see how education puts them on a pathway within the organization.‍

When you provide your workforce with avenues for professional development, you create better employees and increase commitment and loyalty to the company. They can picture a future for themselves in the organization and wish to deliver on the faith shown.

The grass is greener here: What a company can offer its employees

Incentives and perks are great ways of acknowledging employees for their excellent work. Whether performance-related or just a part of everyday working life, they can help retain your best employees. 

Other than ensuring you pay people well taking the issue of salary off the table, here are some benefits that you can offer your employees that will support your retainment strategy:

  • Flexibility. Which has become a growing desire among workers today. At Hubspot, they've made strides towards a flexible working environment by offering flexible work hours. Whether allowing employees to work from abroad or deal with life commitments, flexibility has helped Hubspot support its team's work-life balance and have more time for themselves and their needs.
  • Regular social or wellness programs within the office. To support your teams in building connections to one another and the company. Alongside helping employees learn to look after themselves, it prevents burnout and staff turnover because of its impact.
  • For many parents, the rush back to work after having a child can be stressful. At Netflix, they set no limit for parental leave and stress the importance of returning to work when ready. This level of support ensures employees return in the right frame of mind. For employees, it can improve their sense of job security and happiness that they've found such a supportive working environment.
  • Financial benefits. Bonuses, discounts for events, tuition reimbursements or healthcare. Little things can help make life easier and more enjoyable for employees, increasing the likelihood of staying.

Why retainment of top talent is crucial to a business's present and future

Employers could have retained 3 in 4 employees who quit their jobs. When employees leave, it can impact company morale, productivity and budgets. So, focussing on employee retention is well worth the time and investment.

Retention strategies can come in all shapes and sizes, and their results can be staggering. Whether it is improving competitiveness through updating skills, employee morale or productivity, or creating a workplace environment built on support and compassion that people are proud to work at. A focus on retention not only reduces staff turnover but can make your company a more attractive proposition amongst potential candidates.

Retention enables businesses to bring continuity to their organization, to create succession plans as individuals rise from junior roles to senior positions. The connection forged over the years leads to increased commitment to the company's success and carries the values a company wishes to be renowned for.

To improve the retention of top talent within your company, you can look to:

  • Create a transparent hiring strategy that attracts the right talent
  • Successful onboarding can help employees feel comfortable in new surroundings. When you can support their integration, it shows new hires that they made the right decision.
  • Show the value and regard you hold for your employees. Regular recognition helps employees know they are in an environment that appreciates them.
  • The opportunity to learn and grow shows workers the lengths companies are willing to invest in. They can see that the company regards them as crucial parts of their future.
  • The offer of perks and benefits support employees and shows that they've found a working environment that caters to their needs.

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