Executive Recruiting Blog

EFL Associates insights on executive recruiting, talent management and succession planning.

July 11, 2018

Top five tips to retain star talent

Wow, the employment market is hot. I’ve written blogs in the past about how to retain your star talent, but today’s environment baffles even the most progressive talent management professionals.

All of us must live by the mantra “take care of your own.” It is much cheaper to retain your existing talent pool than to enter into the competitive employment market to find replacements. An inverted compensation curve awaits and it is not pretty.

As baby boomers and Gen Xers retire, the dwindling pool of talent poses a more daunting challenge than we all imagined. We knew it was coming, so we forewarned management, prepared succession planning reports, and formulated strategies, but they may not have been enough. So what can we do? Below, I outline five tips for retaining your star talent.

  1. Pay your existing people at, or even above, market value. Obviously, this assumes that you know what the market pay rates are in your industry or your geographical area. If not, find out and do it yesterday.
  2. Ensure your benefits schedule is competitive and structured to retain existing personnel. Add supplemental benefits such as long-term care insurance for aging parents, deferred compensation programs for high potential employees, and equity opportunities, if available.
  3. Focus intently upon training and development. Millennials value these types of programs immensely and, frankly, so do non-millennials. Sales training, skills training and executive coaching are a few to consider employing.
  4. Communicate with your team and organization. Evolve into a transparent organization that shares financial information, strategy and future opportunity for all employees. Involve everyone.
  5. Do not forget the little things. Recognize birthdays, corporate anniversaries and individual achievements of all employees. Simple thank you’s and pats on the back may be more impactful than you know.

All of this sounds remarkably different, if not a 180 degree shift, from a decade ago. It is. While you are focusing on your current employees, your organization should spend its next strategic planning session thinking about the top of the funnel – the next generation of your employee populace.

At the end the day, old school thinking is a dinosaur. If it hasn’t already caught up to you, it will. Do not take your current situation for granted. Companies and organizations that embrace change and truly “get it” are the ones that will succeed and thrive. At the risk of being patronizing, I am proud to be a part of CBIZ, an organization that has ratcheted up its efforts in many of the areas discussed herein. But there is still more to do to on our end. Where do you stand?


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