Pursuit of Excellence Blog

Why Is It So Hard to Keep My Best Talent?

Posted by Dawn Garcia on July 16, 2018


Business people in a meeting at the office

We hear a few common challenges from clients all the time; one of them is "How can I keep my best talent?" The good news is that the answer is easy. The bad news is that there is no quick solution. We're in the midst of near full employment, yet there are still a number of great people out looking for work, who might be great additions to your team. You may have trouble finding them for the same reason that you have a hard time keeping the ones that you have - namely, that the temptations of others are greater than the pull to stay with you. Your situation is fixable, although it does take some work, and an openness to change. If you're ready, we'll give you the top three things you can do to make a difference, as soon as possible...

 1. Are your leaders great listeners? One of the key responsibilities of leaders is listening to the workforce, customers, suppliers, partners, and other stakeholders. Effective listening requires that leaders consider inputs and feedback, and act upon it as needed. That's not enough though. Leaders need to message back to the workforce and key stakeholders what they've done, and why, in response to feedback. As this cycle repeats, the workforce begins to build trust that what's heard is valued and acted upon. Over time, stakeholders begin to be more open with opportunities to evolve the business processes and services, which helps the organization to be more customer and workforce-focused, boosting innovation. An organization that is customer and workforce focused becomes a talent magnet, where work is valued, and workers make a difference. Isn't that what we all want?

Listening can happen in a number of ways, however one of our favorite tools is employee engagement surveys. These provide an anonymous and unbiased source of feedback, that helps your workforce to be truly heard. Every sized budget can do this. We help organizations with this, and benchmark data for a focus on the greatest areas of impact. Knowing this feedback helps you make the right changes first. If you'd like more info, let us know here:

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2. Are you progressive in work processes and technology? Let's be honest, if you have two options of places to work, and one of them is future-focused, using cool tools and technology, and the other one is stuck in a rut without those, where will you want to go? Of course - cool stuff! Great leaders are visionary, embracing the future, and positioning the business to get there, along with early stage competitors. That means that effectively executing your business strategy of effective, efficient work processes and current technology tools also helps you recruit the best talent! You probably assumed that, but do you know how much of an impact it makes to your talent recruitment and bottom line? There are ways to determine this, that should be part of the opportunity cost considerations of technology and process change proposals. 

Have you evaluated your key work processes for efficiency? How do your technology tools create greater ease or efficiency for your workforce? If you haven't assessed these, this is also an essential step to focus your efforts on areas of greatest impact to talent retention. Your team knows where your biggest gaps and opportunities are. Your challenge is to determine how to get better faster, and how to set expectations for a strong ROI for those changes. Process optimization is not for rookies. If you've not done this, or don't have an internal expert, let's connect. We actually like process mapping, and the awesome results realized!  Let's Connect

Related Article: Three Ways to Finding Your Needed Talent

3. Does your compensation system reward high performers? Whether we're welcoming millennials, baby boomers, or everyone in between, people value those who reflect value in them. There are two essential factors within this - a fair, market-based compensation system, and recognition for exceptional work. If your compensation system isn't comparable to your regional market, you'll continue to lose your best talent based on basic value economics. If your performance management system rewards everyone for showing up and meeting the standards, then your high achievers will quickly become disenfranchised. They want a chance to excel, and reflect exceptional value. If you don't provide that opportunity, your competition will. Simple. Know your numbers, and make the numbers not the issue.

Another key factor for employee and leader retention is recognition, and the opportunity to grow. Do you regularly recognize high levels of performance? How do you do it? Is everyone eligible? Is the recognition relative to the effort required or necessary, or is it unattainable? If you don't have a system of recognition, is it a common practice of your leaders? If not, can you make some changes? A strong relationship to an immediate supervisor can help employees feel so valued and connected that they would not think of leaving. That's your culture goal, and it is achievable. 

Creating Action for Change 

Now that you've recognized that there are things that you can do to make a change, and retain your talent, where do you start? While every company's needs are unique, here are some general recommendations to get started: 

  • Start with a current-state evaluation - an overall organizational evaluation is quick, low-cost, and helps you develop the action plan that is best suited to your company and workforce. This is a very sound investment for faster planning, intervention, and results.
  • Conduct a workforce engagement survey - an unbiased and third-party survey helps to ensure the workforce of anonymity, which encourages feedback. We get statistically significant results with our nationally benchmarked email survey and follow-up process.
  • Evaluate how your leaders listen and engage - Two-way communication mechanisms are essential in developing a healthy workplace culture. An internal evaluation of your different types of listening mechanisms and their effectiveness will likely identify significant gaps and opportunity areas. We have a great assessment tool for this. 
  • Evaluate and optimize your work processes - if you've not identified your key work processes, or mapped them for efficiency optimization, there is likely 30% waste in your work processes (industry average). Removing the waste involves accurately identifying your key work processes, and then mapping and tweaking them for efficiency benefits.
  • Evaluate your leader and workforce compensation system - most HR leaders have a mechanism of ensuring market-based compensation. We also have a resource to determine leadership and C-suite compensation, benchmarked by region, industry, and role, through a national compensation benchmarking firm. 
  • Evaluate your reward and recognition system - when you answer the questions about how high performance is recognized, insight may be realized of areas of need. We can help construct a cost-effective reward and recognition system if you need one.   

 If you know that you, or your team, need help with any of the above aspects, let's connect. Our passion is to help every business to keep their talent, in order to achieve the best results and organizational performance into the future. We have delivered these solutions to some of the top organizations in the nation, enjoying excellent client satisfaction through the process.              Your Success is Our success. Message us with any questions, or to get started below: 

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 Dawn Garcia is Principal and Founder of Pursuit of Excellence LLC, an independent business management consulting firm specializing in service-based businesses; delivering leadership, strategy and execution expertise. Experience the Excellence Driven® System for your business, and achieve the results you need! Every business needs help at some point; great business leaders actually get help when needed, realizing greater returns. When you need help, consult the experts. Our success is your success!  



Tags: HR/People Leadership, Top Talent, Business Leadership, Productivity, Performance Management Systems, Compensation,