How to Retain Top Key Performers
The efforts to maintain top quality employees is becoming increasingly harder every day for a lot of companies. From a firsthand experience with the Boeing Company, it is definitely a major challenge and concern in the cybersecurity arena. There are so many available jobs with too few available candidates to fill the positions. The company’s Global Staffing department is working overtime to find better ways to combat this risk by leveraging the company wealth of benefits. The hiring teams are making an intentional move to strategically focus on employee benefits during recruitment interviews as oppose to waiting until the candidate has come onboard. No longer can HR focus on just the recruitment, they most also simultaneously be thinking about retention. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) states that companies will have to do more than offer salaries to retain good performers on their team, they will have to dig deep into what their employee’s needs are and seek to meet them. Through a survey of more than 700 HR professional SHRM outlined the benefits that are most important to employees with healthcare being the top benefit and family benefits being the least wanted benefit. The chart below outlines the most important benefit to employees.
The survey also revealed that nearly one-fifth of HR professionals altered their benefits program to aid in retention of employees over the past 12 months (Miller, 2016).
Companies must continue to regularly evaluate their benefit against other companies and tweak the benefits as needed to help retention. It is important for a company to become an early adopter of new benefits as competition for talented employees get fiercer in the job market. Simply having an HR representative that can explain the value of the benefits is a tool that can be used to help with retention. It almost like political campaigning when recruiting employees, but more important is being able to keep them with the company after they have been hired. A company has to pay attention to the changes of what an employee finds as value within an organization. In order to do that an employee survey need to be conducted annually to capture at a glance what employees need to feel valued and in turn if those needs are being met, they are more likely to be long-term employees with the company. More emphasis should be placed on connecting with team members about what motivates them while they are productive members of the team. It is too late to consider other options or keep a good employee on the team, during an employee exit interview (McGivney, 2002).
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I believe in the saying that “Employees do not leave companies they leave managers”. All managers need to be trained to ensure that they are aligning and promoting the company’s benefits for their employees as well as promoting the company’s value. It is important that this training focus on culture to perform and communication which will help the managers drive positive work environment. In a lot of cases new benefits become available within an organization and a poor job is done to communicate about them to the employees. This communication flaw has to change in order to keep top performers.
Strategies that can be leverage to retain top performers is knowing that employee retention begins with recruiting and is a factor that keeps talented employee from leaving the company. It is important to stay competitive and put more into long term employees who are dedicated to the company. Another strategy that is often overlooked is the employee resume timeline, how long they stayed on each job previously. Nothing beats loyalty to team. It is imperative to invest in the employee future by provide opportunities for continual education and opportunities to advance. Having an open-door policy provide benefits as it creates open communication from employee to management. It demonstrates managements desire to be open to hearing their idea. Equally important is employee engagement functions to celebrate employees’ contributions to the company and great accomplishments. Although this small gesture may seem irrelevant, it not only highlights the company, but it also makes the employees feel appreciated.
A pitfall that I see in my current employers, is that the company is not doing enough to build a lasting relationship with their employees through establishing a better culture. If we want employees to stay, the company must take step to make employees want to stay around until retirement. A blog cited that 40% of workers planned to look for a new job within the next six months and 69% were already looking. This should be alarming for any employer. The Harvard Business Review discussed the 5 R’s to keeping employees around long-term. Responsibility. Show your employees you believe in them by giving them opportunities to grow. Respect. Every employee deserves to be treated with respect and shown appreciation. I love the saying that, a person may forget what you said but they will never forget how you made them feel. The same hold true with employee relationships. Revenue-sharing. Employees look forward to end of year performance appraisal that connect to increase wages and bonuses. This is another incentive to stick around. Reward. Recognition goes a long way with employees especially when presented in front of their peers and leaders. This adds to the positive culture of the company and boost morale. Relaxation Time. Just as important as getting work done, it is equally important to encourage employees to take a break to relax, enjoy time with family or vacation. In order to get an employee to commit to long-term support it will requires effort on both the employer as well as the employee (Williams & Scott, 2012)
In the past employers believed that having an attractive retirement plan was all that was needed to attract and retain valued employees. Unfortunately, due to so many companies aligning to the same or similar benefits that is no longer a factor for maintaining talent. While most employees like the idea of having a retirement plan, from my experience it is not stopping an employee from jump ship. When asked few employees say they are staying with a company because of retirement benefits, especially those that are early in their career. Depending on where an employee is at in their career the retirement benefit could play a bigger role of importance. Maybe by having a financial assistant discuss deeper the value of the retirement benefit plan, will it become a staying factor. Clearly there is a major difference in what baby boomers needs to feel valued verses what millennials need. Employers that value their employees needs and contributions are less likely to see revolving doors.
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Pay differentiation is another factor in keep top performers from leaving. While some say that money does not motivate employees, I feel that it is a great down payment to being happier longer on the job. Although pay is just one aspect, it is important that we find more ways to engage the employees. This is especially important for employees that may have hit the max salary threshold. Some other ways to help employees that have hit the pay ceiling is think about give them a cash awards to show appreciation. More financial incentives would be to offer the employee more time off such as additional vacation days. This time off will allow the employee to reset, relax and be more productive. Many companies cannot always boost an employee’s salary but they can look for other ways to make the employee feel they are being invested in, such as sending them to training or conference events when possible.
Sometime there is something better than money and it is free. Show the employee with words and actions that you value them. Underappreciation is discouraging for top performers and causes discontentment. The culture that is demonstrated within a company has a lot to do with how employee feel about their work environment and whether an employee want to become a long-term employee. This is an area that top leadership need to give lots of attention because a company culture either attract or distract employees. It definitely can affect performance in a positive or negative fashion. It can provide happiness and satisfaction if the workplace culture is positive. It is a company responsibility to set the tone for what culture they want to drive in their organization. It should not be left up to one’s own interpretation. This goes back to the positive onboarding experience from day one.
All in all, no one feels good about losing a top performing employee but it happens and sometime it is best for both parties to separate. To help prepare for the exodus a succession plan can be the answer for hard to fill positions.
- McGivney, S. M. (2002). Can your retirement plan attract and retain valued employees? Employee Benefits Journal, 27(2), 39–42. https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=sso&db=gnh&AN=95453&site=ehost-live
- Miller, S. (2016). Employers Alter Benefits to Attract, Retain Employees, SHRM Finds. SHRM. https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/alter-benefits-attract-retain.aspx
- Williams, D. K., & Scott, M. M. (2014, August 7). Five Ways to Retain Employees Forever. https://hbr.org/2012/11/five-ways-to-retain-employees.
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