How to Retain the Top Talent on Your Team

When a sports franchise has a superstar player – think Tom Brady or Steph Curry – that organization does everything within its power to keep that player. Whether it’s a contract extension, more money, or hiring new coaches or management, the team doesn’t want to let its best talent leave for a different team.

Not only because that superstar delivers on the field, but also because he or she elevates their teammates and creates a winning culture that permeates the organization.

Start thinking of your top employees in the same way. These are the people who know your organization inside and out – they’re familiar with processes, personnel, and company culture – and are therefore best equipped for management and executive positions. These are your superstars.

The Cost of Losing Top Talent

On average, it costs 150% of an employee’s annual salary to replace him or her. And that cost can be as high as 400%, depending on the employee’s performance level.

Replacing top talent doesn’t happen overnight. 30% of companies report that new talent takes at least a year or more to reach full productivity. But these turnover costs can be avoided. You’ve already invested time and resources into training and developing these employees – retaining your top talent is the best way to get a strong return on that investment.

So, what are some strategies for how to retain top talent?

On average, it costs 150% of an employee’s annual salary to replace him or her. Click To Tweet

Talent Development Programs

Many companies put their strongest employees on leadership development or executive training tracks. While these programs are a logical pipeline for top talent, they don’t always lead to high retention rates. In fact, according to Harvard Business Review research, nearly 40% of leadership transitions by “high potential” employees end in failure.

Why do so many of these talent development programs fall short? Typically because there’s a disconnect between what the company offers – beyond compensation – and what the employee actually values.

1. A Vision  

Leaders want to feel a sense of purpose, that they are part of something important. What’s the “why” behind their work? Companies need to clearly articulate that vision and show top talent that their contributions make a vital impact.

2. A Strong Brand

That vision should shine through in a company’s brand. But that brand also needs to be authentic. Employees know when there’s a disconnect between what a company says – the brand it presents – and what the company actually does. Company culture needs to match and live up to the company brand.

3. Equality

Compensation needs to be equitable for all genders, races, religions, and orientations. Period. If there’s any sense of discrimination or inequality, top talent will head straight for the door.

4. Open Dialogue

Top employees want to be heard. And they want to grow. Providing channels for honest, real-time feedback will allow employees to share their ideas, voice their opinions, and ask for help while also giving managers an avenue for constructive criticism and praise.

5. Flexibility

More and more companies are adopting flexible work hours, work-from-anywhere and unlimited PTO policies. These policies show employees that they can be trusted to get their work done without being micromanaged. That trust and flexibility will boost morale and lead to happier, more productive employees.

Your best employees are already showing themselves. They’re the ones taking initiative, thinking outside the box, holding themselves accountable, and leading while others are content to follow. Retaining your top employees is about truly listening, recognizing talent, and giving them an opportunity to grow.

Retaining your top employees is about recognizing talent, and giving them an opportunity to grow. Click To Tweet

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