How to keep your star players


Faced with a shrinking talent pool and an increasingly competitive landscape, the pressure to retain star players has never been greater for UK businesses. Despite this, almost half (44%) of leaders surveyed in a recent KPMG study claimed their approach to talent retention was “thorough but unplanned, with lots of initiatives which were not integrated into an overall strategy”. A further 27% admitted their approach was nothing more than “ad-hoc”. It’s no surprise then, that roughly 70% of UK employees would consider leaving their current job, and nearly a quarter (24%) are actively looking for new opportunities.  

But the impact of a talented individual handing in their notice is likely to cause larger ripples throughout the company - after all, it takes time and money to replace the cream of the crop. While salary and stature may have attracted the employee to the role in the first place, these components can’t guarantee employee loyalty. Now more than ever, employers must focus on increasing job satisfaction and giving their staff a reason to stay. If they are to succeed, there are certain steps that must be taken: 

Identify underlying issues 

In order to ensure your top performers stay true to your firm, you must determine the problems that push them away: are they stagnating due to a lack of clear progression? Does your employee crave better management, or is the company culture preventing them from committing to the job? Perhaps your staff simply feel overworked and undervalued.  

While one-to-one’s and performance reviews tend to centralise on the employee, they also provide employers with a chance to learn where the business is going wrong in terms of staff retention. Don’t hesitate to ask your employees for feedback and suggestions of what could be improved: this alone will prove to them your commitment to keeping them satisfied at work.  

Invest in their personal development 

It goes without saying that a sustained investment in the learning and development of your employees will lead to their investment in the company. Regardless, many employers are still quick to dismiss training as a waste of time that distracts their staff from the task at hand. Adopt this attitude and it’s likely you’ll see your turnover rate increase dramatically.  

Research from Gallup now suggests that 87% of Millennials say development is important in their job, compared to 44% of Gen Xers and only 41% of baby boomers. While self-improvement may not always have been a primary driver of employee loyalty, it couldn’t be more critical in this competitive climate. 

Even if your organisational structure or size prevents a clear-cut career path for your employees, it shouldn’t restrict opportunities for your staff to learn new skills and expand their knowledge. Organisations who encourage development will not only benefit from improved employee retention but also a more productive and innovative workforce. 

Build a better environment  

If your employee turnover rate is high but your pay is competitive, it’s time to look beyond salary to understand which issues are driving your staff away. Most leaders recognise the correlation between organisational culture and the work-rate and loyalty of an employee, yet many are still to take action in building a better working environment. If you are to keep your star players satisfied, understanding which elements of the company culture encourage their loyalty (and similarly, which aspects cause frustration) will allow you to determine which areas need to be improved.  

For example, research from Deloitte indicates that 68% of UK employees feel their company is not a culture in which they have a sense of purpose or a significant impact. Without a clear goal or vision to aspire to, it will be difficult for workers to form an emotional connection with their job and thus they will be far more likely to leave.  

However, purpose isn’t the only factor. Workplace flexibility has been shown to have a strong impact on employee retention due to the freedom workers feel in achieving their goals. Rather than watching the clock, leaders should consider reviewing the overall performance of their employees to encourage a goal-oriented approach.