Is your retention rate higher than 10%? Do you feel like you're constantly trying to catch up to your hiring demands? These are signals that you might have a retention problem. Here are 5 ways Fortune 100 companies attract and retain top performers that you too can implement within your company:
#1 Adopt a Talent Development (aka Feedback) Strategy
High performers crave the presence of other high performers, not just because they feel proud to be in the same category, but also because they feel like they're in a learning environment. High performers have a few things in common, but the number one most visible trait is that they love to learn. They enjoy learning from others and from their environment. They'll stick around for the long term knowing that they'll growth faster in your business than any other.
To begin, implement an ongoing, in-the-moment feedback culture. Given the rise of Millennials in the workplace (50% of employees will be Millennials in 2020), your top talent is especially hungry for a feedback rich environment. Continuous, in-the-moment feedback is the quickest way to course correct, and create an open, authentic culture that will spread like wildfire throughout the organization.
#2 Modernize Your Employee Engagement Methods
If you have some type of employee engagement initiative in place today, you're off to the races - but are you continuously modernizing your technology for your audience? For example, giving your colleagues a "thumbs up," a gold star, or even tracking them on a point system is effective yet rudimentary. If you're not likely to pass someone in the hallway with a stretched smile and a whopping "two-thumbs up!" then why would you reflect that reaction in your technology talent stack?
The next generation of leaders has a different take, and if you're not in the loop, you're outside of it. Think about how your entire workforce speaks with each other in a common setting, the variety of their vocabulary, and their body language. Discover where they go on their free time and what makes them jump. This would be your preliminary assessment to get started on what really motivates them. Boom.
#3 Identify Skills They Need To Improve for Their Next Career Role
Professional growth is the top priority for Millennials, and all other generations. Who doesn't want better pay, a better title, and more responsibility? Well, the transparent answer is low or content performers. If your teammates are not trying to impress you by going above and beyond, as Randy Jackson from American Idol would say, "Do you really want it!?"
So how do you give employees that motivation? The first step is to be clear about the skills, strengths, and competencies they need to tap into to be successful in their next role. They need something to focus on - why would you keep this from them? It solves many problems: (1) they're now working overtime to do well in their current role and prepare for their next role, (2) they're stretching their skill set and becoming more valuable to you, (3) you're reducing bias and increasing the probability of a diverse workforce, and (4) you'r giving them a reason to request feedback on their growing skill set. Nailed it!
#4 Create a Knowledge Sharing Environment
When your best performers are growing and your weakest performers are showing little or no improvement, you can be sure there is a disconnect. Linking knowledge sharing to performance is a critical, yet often overlooked requirement. Performance should include: the ability to share knowledge, collaborate, and support the professional growth of others in your organization. Performance is not just how you, as an individual perform. Performance is about how all employees perform as one in a high performing organization.
How do we tackle this you say? Create a space where people can contribute information, not just within their own teams, but share information across departments and levels. Allow people to share how they have successfully completed a project, what their challenges were, how they were overcome, what skills they leveraged, who they collaborated with, and so on. The simplicity in which this is done will be the key to your success as a talent manager and leader.
#5 Encourage Leaders To Be Transparent About the Company's Future
I can't emphasize this point enough. Leadership plays a paramount role in talent retention. They're always being observed by those around them, and opinions are always being shaped by those who are elsewhere. Leaders need to find ways to be more transparent about the company's future, and what they're doing to get there. Most employees are simply in the dark, and if they can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, expect mayhem.
Leadership teams can create a push-and-pull strategy of information flow to combat the lack of communication. The push concept is about sharing the past, the present, and the future in a constant stream of updates. The pull concept is about soliciting feedback and new ideas from within the organization, and creating conversations with those that matter most.
How are you implementing these retention strategies today? What concepts would you start to adopt first, and which do you feel are less critical? What's working, and what's not?