How to retain top talent

Posted on: March 23rd, 2016


The job market in 2016 is looking pretty positive. The economy is on the up – and hiring is too. But while this is great news for jobseekers, it means the onus is on employers to work even harder to retain their top talent. Good employees are hard enough to find in the first place, so once you’ve attracted a brilliant staff member you want to keep hold of them for as long as possible.

The cost of complacency

The cost of replacing talented staff comes with a fairly high price tag, so it’s surprising to learn just how many companies still take an inconsistent approach to making sure staff are happy and motivated.

Taking a complacent attitude to staff retention can cost any business dearly. According to research by KPMG, 29% of businesses implement what they would call a ‘formalised’ approach to retaining talent. 44% described their retention plan as ‘thorough but unplanned, with lots of initiatives which were not integrated into an overall strategy,’ while the remaining 27% confessed to being ad-hoc in their efforts to keep the best and brightest staff.

Ingrid Waterfield, director of KPMG’s People Powered Performance team, explains: “Talented people take time and cost money to replace. So by not adopting more formalised talent management strategies, companies are almost fighting this war with one hand tied behind their back.”

What can you do?

Luckily, there are certain things you can do to keep hold of your top talent and reduce the risk of them venturing towards pastures new. Better still, there are plenty of retention strategies that look beyond higher salaries.

Here are three cost-effective retention strategies that can help you encourage your best workers to stay put.

1 Offer a better work-life balance

Let’s start with one of the most obvious (and powerful) strategies out there. Once seen as a perk, remote working has now become almost the norm. A great salary at work is one thing, but it’s almost impossible to beat a great quality of life away from work. Encouraging employees to make the most of a flexible work schedule can help them see there’s more to life than just work. And the more flexibility you offer, the harder it will be for your employees to find an equivalent offer in a new role.

2 Show your appreciation

Every time you show your employees how much you value them you are reducing the chances that they will fly the nest. Show your appreciation on a regular basis for the work and effort each of your members of staff put into their jobs. Recognise the achievements and contributions of employees on an individual basis and as part of a team, and show your appreciation both in private and in public.

This recognition can range from a pat on the back, a mention in the staff newsletter, an awards presentation or lunch at a restaurant. Companies need to introduce formalised retention programmes that reward and motivate staff to ensure their attention doesn’t start to wander.

3 Challenge staff to achieve more

Giving employees more challenging projects at work may not sound like the most obvious way to convince them to stay, but it works. By definition, the people you class as your top talent are working at the top of their game, if they feel they have no more to achieve within your company they will look elsewhere for their next challenge.

A bored employee is no good for anyone concerned. Boredom leads to a lack of interest and a drop in productivity, so make sure your employees are doing what they want to do every day.

Find out more

Talk to Lucy Bristow to discover the compensation packages that are attracting the top candidates right now. Salary alone is not enough to keep your staff motivated and engaged. We can help you think more creatively about your retention strategy – find out more today.

Image: SUIT by Johnathan Mueller available under the (CC BY 2.0) license

Bristol recruitment icons