Cheryl Cran

Article Summary:

Guidelines for an employee retention strategy that will help you keep your top performing employees.

Employee Retention Strategy: How to Attract and Retain Top Performers

One of the biggest challenges companies are facing is the attraction and retention of top performers. The World Future Society predicted that the greatest test of durability for companies in the next five years would be the ability to get and keep good people. In some industries such as the homebuilding industry there is a phenomenon of merry-go-round employees where employees jump ship within the industry and companies are recycling employees. In the finance industry the big question to a top performer is "Where did you jump from?"

One executive management client had left a specific financial institution because she was wooed by a competitor. Once there, she wasn't as happy as she thought would be and was wooed back again to the original employer. She did this back and forth thing two more times! This is very common in specific industries as the fight for good people continues. So how do we attract the top performers and second to that how do we keep them from jumping?

Here are the top five things leaders can do to attract and keep the best of the best:

1) Top talent wants to work for the top companies.
If your company is committed to superior practices, has profile and brand recognition and is known for exemplary management practices, you will have a list of salivating hopefuls lined up to work for your company. This would be a good problem to have. Bottom line - the company needs to be working towards being the best, brand recognition and having excellent employee systems in place.

2) Build it and they will come.
If your company is revamping, rebuilding or restructuring, be aware that every man and his dog out there has been through some form of reengineering in the workplace. To attract top talent you need to be able to show the vision of where you are taking the company and offer the opportunity for the talent to be part of building the new dream. Top performers are often drivers, which mean they are turned on by challenge, change and results.

3) Recognize and reward over and over again.
Money isn't everything to top performers. On a list of ten items that are important to top performers, money ranks at number four. The most important element for top performers is having challenging work, the second is having an open and honest work environment, third is recognition for work and fourth is money. Again top performers thrive on opportunities for recognition in the form of time off, family days off or flex work schedules.

4) Don't take them for granted.
Like anything, the novelty and excitement of a new job tends to wear off after about six months or so. Human nature is often to leave a good thing alone and this could be the worst thing we could do to our top performers. Ongoing coaching, retreats and training are crucial to top performers. Again people at the top of their game tend to be lifelong learners and are eager to learn as much as they can. Do not underestimate the value of providing ongoing learning opportunities, reimbursement for college or university and giving them challenging projects where they can be stimulated and challenged.

5) Know what thy enemy does.
Be on top of your competitor's practices around attraction and retention of top performers. Don't get blindsided by a top performer coming to you to tell you what they have been offered. Be aware first and ensure you address it once you find out. If you are consistently establishing a top performers' value they won't go looking elsewhere but often when we don't pay attention to what else is out there they may be scouted right out from under your nose.

Powerful leaders know that the success of their company is built on the quality of their people. As leaders, we must make our people our priority and this is and will be the biggest challenge.

Cheryl Cran, CSP is the author of the book "Say What You Mean - Mean What You Say" and the soon to be released book "50 Ways To Lead and Love It!". She is also an internationally renowned motivational speaker and a skilled expert in communication strategies. Her keynote speeches and customized "communication" seminars focus on helping corporations and associations to improve leadership, teamwork, customer care and change management. Cheryl is a contributing author to Richard Carlson's best-selling series "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff" and "Speak Up Speak Out". For more information, visit: www.cherylcran.com.

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