There is not a spec of doubt across organizations that retaining top talent should be a priority. There are several reasons to support this claim ranging from the tangible to the non-tangible costs. Most organizations recognize that the material cost of employee turnover is high with hiring, onboarding and training expenses. At the same time, intangible costs of employer branding, productivity loss, etc make the matters worse. While there is more than enough data to support the need to promote practices towards retaining top talent, the action is more or less absent. Additionally, top talent generally represents the biggest advocates of the organization as well as seasoned influencers and role models. According to a research by Indiana University high performers achieve 400% more than an average employee. Thus, retaining top talent makes sense for an organization across all aspects.
Retaining top talent: Post the pandemic
Pandemic and the accompanying ambiguity is encouraging organizations to think out of the box when it comes to reformulating practices towards retaining top talent. Simply large bonus cheques and monetary incentives are no longer enough. Here are a few hacks for retaining talent in the new normal:
- Personalized coaching and leadership development: Most top performers exactly know the best way to do the tasks at hand. They rarely need training on how to do their job. However, investing in their coaching and leadership development can be a great tool for retaining top talent. Organizations can leverage digital platforms to offer personalized coaching and leadership development powered by behavioural changes to offer holistic growth that top performers truly value.
- Offer the right benefits: Assuming a big fat pay cheque as a sufficient means to retaining top talent is a wrong move. Rather, organizations should understand what each top performer values most and offer the right benefit. Right from tangible rewards like a paid vacation to onsite training in something that interests the employee, there are several parameters to touch upon. According to HBR, top performers want competitive pay, supplemental training programs, flexible schedule, up-to-date technology, among others.
- Charter a path which is mutually beneficial: Most organizations focus on reaping the maximum benefits from their top performers while not focusing on the return on investment for the employees. Invariably, unless organizations focus on long term employees goals and align them with what they are offered in terms of roles, there will be a mismatch. While it might yield short term results, in the longer run, it will lead to employee attrition and turnover. Therefore, organizations must focus on chartering a path which yields professional development for the employee alongside organizational success for retaining top talent.
- Focus on the managers: We have all heard that people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses. Therefore, retaining top talent should start with focusing on adopting the right managerial practices. Top performers must have managers who can mentor, guide and support their growth along the way. Such managers must understand the personality traits each top performer brings to the table and leverage their strengths and help them build on their weaknesses. With the right leadership in place, retaining top talent becomes easy as these performers are clearly able to navigate their path to success.
- Leverage technology drivers: This refers not only to leveraging digital tools to augment engagement and employee morale. While that is an important part, organizations also need to leverage digital innovations like AI, big data, etc to add value to the work that their top performers undertake. Simply automating a few repeat tasks or banking on data points to understand what employees want can go a long way into helping organizations in retaining top talent. Research shows that creative and meaningful work can augment engagement as well as retention.
Retaining top talent today: See organizational success tomorrow
Organizations today need to adopt a holistic approach to retaining top talent. Siloed practices focusing only on engagement or benefits will not reap results. The focus should be on every part of the employee lifecycle. Unless the top talent is able to derive value from every aspect of their relationship with an organization, their stint will be short lived. Thus, organizations need to adapt to the changing expectations and create new pathways towards retaining top talent.