5 Thoughtful Ways to Retain Your Top Talent

No employee issue can so quickly derail company performance as the failure to retain quality employees.

Employee turnover costs US companies $160 billion a year.  

That’s a sobering statistic for any type of organization. Additionally, consider that in an industry like healthcare, failure to retain key talent is not only costly, it is potentially life-threatening. So as we approach the New Year, how can you ensure that you are showing proper employee recognition will be willing to spend another 12 months or more working at your organization? Let’s explore a few options.


1. Onboard Effectively

The strategy you employ to onboard your employees is absolutely critical if you want to retain them. Give your employees the opportunity to experience what training could be: including learning about the company culture and all the resources you can offer as an employer. This will lay the foundation for a successful tenure.

City Electric Supply discovered the benefit of thorough onboarding when they used Waggl to ask their employees, “If you could invest in one part of the business what would it be?” Employees responded emphatically that they needed more training. A new-hire orientation was developed that brought all new employees to the company HQ within the first 90 days of their employment for a comprehensive training. Through these efforts, City Electric Supply has reduced new hire turnover by 50%.


2.Provide a Comprehensive Review Process

So you’ve found the best talent, you’ve trained them, integrated them,  and they’ve been producing at your company for nearly a year. If you think you can let the annual review slide you might want to think again. Employers have many reasons to be reticent about the review process, and a key concern is that it may bring up a discussion about compensation. Beyond compensation, employees truly are hungry for feedback on their performance and professional development.

Develop a replicable process for employee reviews that allows for thoughtful conversation and recognizes the accomplishments and challenges they have experienced within your organization. Follow that with an action plan that illustrates a path forward. Conclude the discussion with a commitment to their growth, and a recognition of any grievances they may have (yes, even those related to compensation.)

Better yet, implement a platform that enables continuous feedback in addition to annual reviews. In our increasingly on-demand world, people are becoming accustomed to getting feedback from their customers, friends, and the general public every minute of every day. Many organizations have correctly started to recognize that the annual performance review is not enough. Top talent doesn’t want to wait 12 months for feedback on their performance — they want to hear it continuously so that they can make any necessary adjustments on the spot.  And in turn, they want the opportunity to share their opinions about what the organization could do better.


3. Offer the Opportunity to Give Back

It can be hard to find time to give back among the many hectic demands our work and family life place upon us. However, at the end of the day, the time we devote to causes that are bigger than ourselves and our companies can make a big difference in how rewarding we find our daily activities.

In addition, committing to altruism as a group is a powerful team-building tool. A recent study reported that 75% of employees that regularly volunteered through work felt better about their employers than those that do not. Giving back through work was also found to improve employee mood, lower stress levels, and increase employee self-esteem.


4. Share the Wealth

Quality talent isn’t cheap, and it is worth investing in compensation to help fight turnover and improve your company’s bottom line.

Talent management thought leader, Liz Pellet, cites two primary reasons for top performers to explore new opportunities: compensation and leadership. With regard to compensation, Pellet is quick to point out that money won’t necessarily buy loyal employees, but it can definitely become a factor when other challenges are present. Pay and benefits are a driver to many individuals and to some people the extrinsic benefits of the organization can outweigh the intrinsic benefits,” she explains. “Employees can withstand and overlook things when they feel highly compensated, but when they feel they are underpaid, (read underappreciated here), there is a lot less toleration.”

Profit sharing and employee stock programs are also gaining popularity as an agile compensation measure for small businesses and may help even the gap in companies where industry standard pay is a challenge.


5. Encourage a Culture of Purpose

There’s nothing like burnout to encourage employees to look elsewhere for employment. One way to avoid burnout is to cultivate a shared sense of purpose within the organization. In addition to adapting to new trends, like allowing generous time off and the ability to work remotely, consider this a priority in your retention efforts.

Sara Roberts, author of Nimble, Focused, Feisty, says that the key to success in the current era of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity (VUCA) hinges on the business’ ability to create a purpose-driven culture.  

Explains Roberts, “Purpose is a fundamental need for human beings, as individuals and in groups, in our lives and in our work.  A productive, effective, and authentic way to operationalize purpose in an organization is to figure out how to support and drive value for the customer in line with that purpose. When key questions are asked, decisions made, and actions taken accordingly, the organization can be said to be leading with purpose. That clarity not only connects the business to the customer in a deeper way, but it drives innovation in service of customer value, leads to more sustainable growth and profitability, infuses authenticity into marketing and brand, brings employees and stakeholders together, and helps the world become a better place.”


Our CEO, Michael Papay, laid out the truth at our first annual Harvest leadership summit earlier this year: “The corporate war with talent is over, and talent has won. Talent has the skills that are portable and can be moved to other organizations, and the desire to work only in a company and position that offers an exceptional cultural fit.”  Tweet This!

This year, take steps to strengthen your culture and retain that most important competitive advantage: your people. Waggl offers comprehensive support initiating an employee voice process that will help your people feel valued, heard, and happy at work. Get in touch to learn more.