· 3 min read · Features

The need to retain talented employees is increasing every day


In a workplace where the war for talent is making it tough to find good workers and where key skills getting more scarce, the need to retain your most talented individuals by treating people well, increases every day.

It is far shrewder and more economical to work at keeping your top employees than to let them go and spend money on recruiting and training new people who are going to take a while to get up to speed. Losing esteemed colleagues can also have an impact on the rest of the team, department and business. Other workers may well feel demoralised if they see the best talent being let go too easily.

Look at the wider, demographic picture and you'll see it presents another reason to hold on to your best. With baby boomers nearing the end of their careers, they're leaving a big skills gap that's hard to fill. Skills such as science, mathematics and engineering are predicted to be particularly sparse in the coming years. If you already have individuals who are in the prime of their working lives and who have these skills covered, do not underestimate how important it is to retain these employees.

Retention of crucial talent is so key to the continued growth and success of your business that it is well worth investing the time and effort into ensuring these individuals are happy to stay put and develop within the company instead of looking elsewhere for professional opportunities. Your best employees enhance the company in several different ways-by ensuring customer satisfaction, maintaining balance and productivity within the workplace, and driving product development and innovation onwards and upwards.

Retaining employees-even ones that seem engaged and dedicated to the organisation--requires a sensible and sensitive approach to the way that people work. Giving colleagues a sense of the direction of travel that they and the team overall are taking, plus consistent and regular communications about what needs doing as well as how they are doing in terms of their feedback are fundamentals to keeping your best and most involved workers. A lack of feedback in particular can lead to an employee feeling lost and directionless. It's vital that workers are given an idea of what they're doing right and wrong, so they can feel in control of their own improvement, development and destiny.

Tune in to every individual on a regular basis. This does not have to be formalised and structured as part of the standard appraisal process. This is much more about day to day management and supervision. People leave supervisors and managers rather than leaving organisations. The management and supervision of your top achievers must be as high quality as the achievers themselves if it is to meet their needs. As a line manager, do not underestimate your role in holding onto your best workers. Employees will stay or go because of you, not in spite of you. Avoid over-measuring --whilst it is important to measure outputs and performance, over-measurement can be a real irritant to high-performing individuals and may reduce their level of desire to keep doing what they do.

It is far better to have regular input sessions on being clear about the future and the team's performance, followed up by frequent shorter feedback conversations both one on one and in small groups to check that the individual and the team are going in the right direction. If it sounds simple that's because it is. One of the biggest mistakes that we can make is to lose valuable people by over complicating what is really a simple humanistic process based on personal relationships.

Clear communication not only gives workers clarity about the future but also around what is expected of them every day. Once a person is clear on what they have to do at work, they will be more focused and productive and will therefore be happier at work. If a worker feels uncertain or vague about what they're meant to be doing, their commitment to the company will also be uncertain and vague, if existent at all.

Your organisation conducts exit interviews for a reason-so learn from them. What have past valued employees who resigned said in their exit interviews? Look over this data and integrate your findings into new strategies to ensure less untimely resignations. Exit interviews are sometimes mocked as pointless, but they could be the most important body of data your organisation has amassed at this present time.

Nisa Chitakasem is the founder of Position Ignition, which helps organisations with talent retention, risk management and the effective management of senior talent