One of the biggest challenges faced by businesses these days is getting and retaining talented employees. In today’s workplace, loyalty no longer means what it did a decade ago. The younger generations have already developed quite the reputation for constantly being on the lookout for the next best thing.

In the face of this change in workforce dynamics, companies have to adapt and find innovative ways of ensuring that talented employees stay for long enough to make a difference since keeping them until retirement age is no longer an option – or a great idea come to think of it.

The best 3 strategies on retaining top talent

Employees stick with a certain organization if they are motivated to do so and recent studies about what drives people and what makes them effective show that essentially there are three very important aspects that lead to better performance and personal satisfaction:

  • Autonomy,
  • Mastery and
  • Purpose.

Therefore, it is the task of every HR department to come up with the appropriate solutions for attracting and retaining top talent.

Flexibility and self-direction

People feel and work better when they feel they are in charge of the tasks they have to perform on the job. That is not to say that training and coaching do not have a great bearing on their performance but it is important to provide them on request rather than demand that they are done at a particular time.

Today’s technology offers the possibility of remote connections and allows people from different geographical areas to work together on projects, share information and learn without necessarily stepping into an actual company office. Allowing — and trusting — them to do so leads to better engagement, increased creativity and ultimately better results.

E-learning has the great advantage of being available wherever there is a device connected to the internet and it allows employees to include learning into their schedules when they need it and when it fits instead of being stuck for a couple of days in a room just when their projects needed them most.

This kind of autonomy does not lead to people isolating themselves and does in no way make them work less in teams as social networks are on the rise and do not require physical presence.

Keeping an eye on engagement

As stated before, this is a big issue in today’s workplace. When getting a new job, only 33% of employees declare that they are fully engaged in their new role. That’s a bit disappointing if we take into consideration the effort HR departments put into the whole recruitment process and onboarding experience.

The key to improving the statistics is keeping in mind that the process should not end once the employee has signed the contract and gone through the induction and trial period. Since the focus is to retain talented people, it’s crucial to let them know they are seen as such and offer them a glimpse into where they can go within the company.

It often happens that managers have great plans for their team members but fail to communicate that properly. Constructive criticism and praise are both very important as is periodically running surveys to check engagement levels and find out what is missing for them to be at optimal values.

Keeping bi-directional communication channels always open will provide valuable insights into what employees think, feel and want.

Invest in continuous education

Mastery is one of the main drivers of motivation. People want to be good at things, learning is in their nature and the desire for self-improvement is pretty much the main characteristic of talented people.

There is that already cliché alleged conversation between the CFO and the CEO of a big company: the first asks, “Yeah, but what if we train them, and they just leave?” The second responds, “What if we don’t train them, and they stay?”.

Learning will always be an investment of time and money but without it, positive results are very unlikely to appear. While well-designed training paths and a set course of development do have their merits, on-demand learning creates a wide variety of tools and processes to support a continuous learning process that can fill in any gaps left by formal instruction.

And since in this day and age most learning is done informally, incorporating it into L&D strategy is only logical. Talented people will not leave if they feel that they are appreciated and they can grow within the company.

Ultimately, it is as Richard Branson said

Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.

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