Top Performers: Once You Have Them, How Can you Keep Them?

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Any great staffing strategy starts with an effort to recruit top performers. Your job posting, your application review process, your interviews and your onboarding procedure are all part of an overarching plan to attract and obtain the most valuable form of capital: human capital. Especially highly talented human capital.  But many companies, even those with excellent hiring strategies, seem to drop the ball once great candidates are officially signed on. They draw in top performers, and then they seem to forget all about them. And this does not bode well for a company’s bottom line.

So what steps can you take to retain great workers once you’ve found them? How can you follow through after the hiring process and get the most out of your talented employees for the duration of your (ideally long-term) relationship? Here are a few key considerations.

Retaining Top Performers: Know Who They Are

Not all top performers are apparent on day one. Sometimes an employee begins to polish her skills only after a few months or years on the job. So in order to recognize, reward, and retain excellent workers, you need to know how to identify them in a crowd. Make sure your annual review process provides managers with a close and accurate look at key employee performance metrics. These metrics should be meaningful, measurable, and clear. Employees within the top 3 to 5 percent across all relevant criteria should stand out immediately. Investigate software options that can allow you to compare the performance of multiple employees, cross-reference performance metrics with other data, and identify high productivity as well as growth over time.

Retaining Top Performers: Coach and Mentor Them

Both employees and mentors benefit from a profitable one-on-one relationship. Encourage top performers to find mentors on their own, or pair them with willing senior employees who can provide them with meaningful, personal feedback. Coaching and advice from a mentor can often have a more powerful impact than the same guidance provided by a boss. Once these relationships are established, step back and let the participants navigate the details.

Recognize the Value of Appreciation

If you can afford to reward your top performers with higher compensation, by all means do so. But many employers don’t have this liberty and have to find other ways to make top performers feel recognized and valued. Be creative as you do this. (And of course, be fair.) If contests seem well suited to your workplace culture, come up with clever ways to cultivate your employees’ competitive instincts. If your workplace is more collaborative, distribute praise among teams. Meanwhile, make sure you notice and acknowledge the employees who push a little harder and care a little more. Even a simple verbal “thank you” can have a powerful impact on employee satisfaction.

Keep Your Door Open

If you maintain open communication channels, you’ll be better poised to act when top performers have a need, a great idea, a problem, or a concern. Be ready if talented employees come to you with requests for educational support, new training, transfers or better resources. You can only accommodate them if you know what they need, and this can only happen if you stay in touch.

For more guidance on retaining great employees and keeping top performers on-board, contact the experts at CSS and arrange a consultation.

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