As the economy continues to recover, the threat of great employees jumping ship for other opportunities becomes all the more real. Increasingly, valued employees are no longer clinging for dear life to the jobs they’ve held throughout the recession. New opportunities beckon – and they are far more likely to answer the call.
According to a recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 56 percent of HR professionals expect to see higher turnover rates as the economy grows stronger. Asked why they would begin searching for a new job, 53 percent of managerial and executive employees replied better compensation and benefits; 35 percent cited dissatisfaction with their potential career development in their current jobs; and 32 percent said they were simply ready for a new experience.
You can avoid a mass exodus of top talent by taking the necessary steps to retain and develop those people who have kept your business afloat these past few years. The secret lies in keeping them engaged, fulfilled, and confident in their ability to do the job.
Here are some strategies for retaining and developing top talent:
- Offer a competitive salary.
- Offer a competitive benefits package, including life insurance, disability insurance, vacation, and holiday benefits.
- Listen to employees. Allow them ample opportunities to share their feedback and ideas. Pay attention and carefully consider what they are telling you.
- Provide frequent feedback. Praise outstanding performance and effort. If possible, link pay to performance.
- Always make sure employees have a thorough understanding with regard to goals, roles, and responsibilities. Communicate your expectations with them regularly and encourage them to ask questions if anything is unclear.
- Provide opportunities for people to share their knowledge with colleagues.
- Offer tuition reimbursement.
- Make work fun. Sponsor costume days at Halloween and decorate the workplace for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and other holidays. Have Casual Fridays and cookouts in the summer.
- Provide opportunities for career advancement. Encourage people to participate in cross-training initiatives so they will be qualified for a number of openings within the company. Give them opportunities for challenging assignments designed to “stretch” them professionally.
- Encourage work/life balance. Allow for flexible work hours, when possible.
- Involve employees in decisions that affect their work life.
- Practice corporate social responsibility. Sponsor work days during which employees devote their time to worthy causes (on your dime).
The time to start employing these strategies is now, even if your retention numbers still look good. Don’t wait to take action until half your employees have jumped ship. Once that happens, chances are the other half is already open to other possibilities.