Influencing Your Top Talent

3 Steps to Beating the Odds and Retaining Top Talent

Are you keeping an eye on your top talent? You should, because they are likely eyeing other employment opportunities. In a recent study, The Work Institute estimates that 42 million, or approximately 25 percent of employees, will seek new jobs in 2018. This talent turnover is estimated to cost employers almost $600 billion this year alone, with the number expected to increase significantly by 2020.

Since top-performing employees produce up to 400 percent more work than their counterparts, the cost of talent turnover threatens any organization’s bottom line. Even worse, the Work Institute study indicates 77 percent of turnover could be prevented if companies focused on: 

§ Career Growth – more opportunities to grow in a desired career (21%).

§ Work/Life Balance – in search of flexible schedules and shorter commutes (13%).

§ Management Behavior – unprofessional or unsupportive managers (11%).

§ Well-Being – stress and stress-related health issues for self and/or family (9%).

§ Compensation and Benefits – financial pay and secondary benefits (9%).

In the past, better-paying job opportunities were the primary reason for employees leaving an organization. Now, career development, work/life balance and poor management consistently rank among the primary reasons.

Our growing economy offers an unprecedented amount of opportunity, which makes career progression even more achievable for those looking for career advancement. According to the president of The Work Institute, “Employees have career options, and our study shows they are not hesitant to leave their current positions for jobs that better fit their preferences and expectations.”

Your organization can beat the odds and retain top talent by implementing these three steps.

1. Clearly Communicate Expectations

A study by Ascendify showed 38 percent of employees were not clear on what skills they needed to be successful in their role. While employees may be happily employed, they lack the knowledge required to fully embrace the position and its responsibilities. This will eventually lead to frustration for both the manager and employee. While most managers believe the answer lies in more meetings, regularly communicating priorities and expectations really is the key.

When employees are routinely reminded of their role’s importance and its part in company priorities, they fully engage in the work necessary to succeed.

Be clear and concise. Keep priorities short and straightforward. Tie them into company objectives and allow employees to see how their role fits into the overarching strategy.

Walk the talk. Be mindful of your requests for their time and ensure what you communicate fits within the priorities you’ve listed. Allow them to see your willingness to focus on work aligned with priorities. Back-burner those that do not.

Communicate frequently. Most managers host a general meeting or call only a few times a year to discuss business objectives and team priorities. As a manager, it’s important to continually remind your team what the overarching objectives are and how they can help. Repeat the objectives in team meetings, emails and phone calls.

Once employees understand expectations, they’ll better know what tools and resources are required for success. They’ll feel empowered to make decisions and seek training that supports leadership-outlined expectations.

2. Give Actionable Feedback

Ascendify’s survey found one in five employees believes they lack enough feedback from management to improve their work and grow within the organization. Top talent is successful because of hard work, tenacity and determination to continually grow and strive for more. Your ability to retain them is cut short when you fail to give them the feedback they need to improve. This will eventually translate into stagnation and boredom.

Invest in your talent by giving them consistent, actionable direction in a quest to help them improve. Even the best professional superstars need constructive ideas to grow. Help them identify their strengths and better understand their skills and capabilities. Inquire more about what they enjoy and what they want to achieve professionally. Knowing this will better inform you on ways to guide them in their existing position on your team. Providing frequent feedback will show you’re invested in their success, encouraging them to grow within your organization and not with your competition.

3. Find a Mentor or Coach

Top talent desires to be at the top, but they may not know how to get there. Job hopping is an appealing option for those who may be unaware of growth opportunities available at their current employer. Finding a mentor or coach will help broaden top performers’ horizons and provide a fresh perspective from leadership.

Mentors also make great champions for employees when new positions arise. They can advise mentees on network opportunities and with whom to meet. Additionally, they can provide further feedback to help employees fine-tune skills necessary for executive leadership positions. 

By implementing these three steps in your organization, you’ll address many of the top issues related to employee turnover. You’ll save your company money and resources, not to mention retain your top talent. Best of all, you’ll influence them to invest in future employees as well.

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