There’s no denying we live in the age of job hopping. One third of all new hires quit their jobs within six months. 33 percent of employees decide whether or not they will stay with a company within their first week. 35 percent of employees look for a new job if they do not receive a pay increase within their first year. In this culture, retaining top talent is crucial to the success of any organization.
Some of us learned the value of talent the hard way, when we were rejected from our elementary school’s talent show after hours of rehearsing a solo dance routine to Thriller. (Don’t rub it in.)
In the workplace, learning the value of talent looks less like crushed childhood dreams of becoming a pop star and more like losing one of your most valuable employees because their talent was not nurtured, or even recognized. This loss will cost you big time– lost productivity, lost knowledge, and lost money and time that will go towards recruiting and training a replacement.
Talent management is the strategy your organization deploys to develop, retain, and recruit your industry’s top talent. Successful talent management will set your team apart from your competitors by building a superior workforce that possesses and utilizes the top talent of your industry. Follow these talent management best practices to ensure that your top performers stay with your company for the long haul.
1. Go Beyond Annual Performance Reviews
Meeting with employees on a regular basis is crucial to retaining top talent. This one-on-one time provides an invaluable opportunity for managers and employees to celebrate achievements, discuss improvements that need to made, and align the employee’s professional goals with the goals of the organization. Additionally, the time allows managers to identify those who are underperforming and take action to correct those circumstances through further professional development.
Why limit this interaction to annual, or even quarterly performance reviews? A recent study conducted on talent management discovered that 64% of employees surveyed believed their managers were only fair to poor at providing regular, timely, and in-the-moment feedback to their employees regarding performance.
You won’t change this statistic within your own organization by limiting communication to an annual performance review.
To give your top talent a reason to stay, as well as to maximize their performance, give employees other regular, informal opportunities to receive feedback. This could include more frequent, casual discussions regarding performance, optional training programs and workshops for those interested in expanding their professional horizons, and arranging mentor/mentee relationships.
It’s a win-win; employees are satisfied and the organization benefits from improved individual performance.
2. Set Clear Expectations
We’ve all been there. Sitting around doing nothing may sound relaxing in theory, but no one, especially not your top talent, wants to feel useless. If your employees lack clear expectations regarding their responsibilities, they will feel their talents are not being valued in the company, and they will search for a company that will value them.
Setting expectations is a process that moves from the top down. At the highest level, employees have a thorough understanding of the company’s overarching goals, and their unique responsibilities in achieving them. This will allow them to see themselves within the big picture (and motivate them to stick around for that picture).
On an individual level, clarity is key. Expectations should be quantifiable, measurable, and discussed regularly (going beyond annual performance reviews).
Informally, the day-to-day expectations of behavior, culture, and productivity should be explicitly stated. Do not assume employees automatically understand your company culture. Is it a-okay for employees to spend a significant amount of time chatting with coworkers? Make that known. If the environment is a bit more formal, make that known as well. A clear understanding of all expectations will make it easier for employees to seamlessly fit into the company and achieve maximum productivity.
3. Reward Top Performers
Identifying your top performers and rewarding their effort is crucial to retaining talent. And the reward does not have to be monetary to be effective (although a little bonus doesn’t hurt).
A talent-based succession plan is a great way to let your top talent know that their career development is important to you, and that you recognize, appreciate, and want to reward their dedication to the organization. Being transparent about your intentions to prepare top-performers for promotion when the time is right will keep your most productive team members satisfied and striving to go above and beyond.
Added bonus: Because we are in the age of jobvhopping, you may find yourself needing to fill a position, and fast. A succession plan full of top talent means you will never make a hasty hiring decision again. You have already identified and groomed internal employees to fill the needs as they arise.
4. Hold an Exit Interview
Inevitably, you win some, you lose some. When you do lose a valuable employee, turn the hit into a positive experience and investigate what compelled that person to leave. Most likely, their answer will indicate what you could have done differently to improve your chances of keeping them: provided more opportunities for career growth, giving more frequent feedback, cultivating a more positive company culture, and so on.
Whatever the reason may be, if you can make a change to ensure you retain more of your top talent in the future, do it. Practicing talent management best practices now will help you reduce churn and build a team of employees who are motivated to do their best.