Retaining Top Performers

Retaining Top Performers first appeared in Wolf in the Workplace, the newsletter of Wolf Management Consultants, LLC.

Photo of a pile of money.

Throwing money at your top performers won’t keep them.

Retaining high-performers is a major challenge. As the economy continues to improve, studies show top performers may not even think twice about leaving.

Great organizations view employee retention as a competitive advantage and work hard to retain their most talented people. Retention starts with culture. To keep your top talent, create an inspiring and energizing culture wherein they can thrive. This means having an organization with shared values, openness, and honesty, thereby creating trust and allowing talented people to voice their opinions and share ideas.

You must empower and encourage people to aspire to do great things and be innovative, and then reward their successes. High performers want to be challenged, provided with interesting work, and have the ability to make a difference. Recognize that everyone is motivated in different ways and take time to find out what motivates each person. If you can pinpoint these motivators, you can work with your staff to achieve extraordinary results.

Continually praise and recognize individual achievements, and make people feel good about themselves and their accomplishments. Be accessible, listen to their suggestions and ideas, and keep them informed of everything that affects them.

Be certain you place them in the right positions. All too often we place people in jobs for which they’re not suited. A specific job may not be challenging enough or individuals may lack the required skill sets. We always want to make sure the fit is correct.

Every leader must be held accountable for retaining talented people. If you see a pattern of turnover under a specific leader, a red flag should go up. Talented people will not put up with ineffective leaders. Continually look for signs of dissatisfaction. Asking questions and receiving feedback are great ways to find out if people’s needs are being met. Ask your high performers: What can we do to make you happier here? If the organization could stop doing one thing, what would it be? What’s challenging about your work? What motivates you to work harder? What are the greatest obstacles to getting your work done? What resources do you need that you currently lack?

These questions open a constructive dialogue that allows you to discover talented people’s needs. Once you gain awareness, work quickly to fulfill these needs. Provide continual education and learn new ideas. Then provide a career path with opportunities for growth and advancement.

 

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