How to retain top talent


The talent pool is shrinking fast. As the national employment rate rises, competition for skilled candidates grows fierce. Leaders looking to lock down a team of high-performers and KPI beaters must consider what keeps them motivated and loyal to the company - after all, replacing them isn’t going to be easy!

Human resource teams and line managers alike will bear this new responsibility by placing retention at the heart of a company’s growth plan. While new tech, competitive benefits packages and a comfortable salary will all go some way to retaining top talent, leaders are quickly learning to look inwards to determine how their company culture and employee experience could make a difference:

1. Onboarding

Probation works both ways. The impressions made on day one - more often than not - count on day 90. Creating a healthy working relationship that hits the ground running is paramount in keeping that good spirit alive and can often help embed your new starter in the team with minimal effort. Nobody wants to be broken up within the first three months, so make sure to keep the honeymoon period alive for as long as possible. Remember, when it comes to onboarding, you get what give.

Fail to make your new hire feel welcome and the honeymoon period may never even happen: instead, you’ll be left at the altar while your new recruit looks elsewhere for a better opportunity. 

2. Flexibility

Working from home is beginning to become an everyday part of life for those in professions that can support it. Research has shown that 85% of millennials want to “telecommute” 100% of the time, only 64% of companies have a formal remote working policy. This gap in demand gives businesses the opportunity to differentiate their personal brand from other employers. Furthermore, workers who have the option of remote work are 48% more likely to rank their job a 10 on the happiness scale.

3. Recognition

When a member of staff hits a target, completes a project, or drives significant revenue growth – it’s certainly worth recognising. Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and after months of hard work, failing to recognise that effort can create a toxic working environment. So much so, in fact, that the people who feel their good work is routinely ignored will be twice as likely to leave within the year - and who could blame them?

4. Career progression

Not many people start a job with no aspirations for progression or promotion. Millennials, more than ever, are wishing to find opportunities for progression in a company or they will look to leave in the initial two years of their employment. Hiring externally certainly has its benefits: fresh ideas, new skills and none of the bad habits currently embedded from your company culture.

However, by closing the opportunity off to your own team members, you are inadvertently sending a message to your top performers that they may no longer achieve any further progression internally. By offering existing staff the ability to apply for these positions before recruiting externally, hiring managers may find hidden gems and improve retention.

5. Communication

When a business makes decisions solely led by the management team, the flow of information is often a drip feed, causing uncertainty at every level of the business. In turn, critical information is passed around the office like Chinese whispers, with staff left to crack the company’s future plans like a top-secret code. Before long, the business is ablaze with rumours, gossip and misinterpreted information being told as truth.

With that in mind, garnering engagement from your team is indispensable. All company briefings, one-to-one meetings, and (if you have the capacity) video or digital newsletters are surefire ways to increase the flow of information and ensure no employees are left in the dark. As well as spreading a staff-wide awareness of upcoming challenges, plans and projects, improved communication can help keep your employees focused on the task at hand, rather than looking for the first exit when your back is turned.