Practically every company these days has some form of process designed to nurture its rising stars. Or at least every company should. These high-achieving individuals can have an enormous impact on business results and they need to be nurtured to ensure they remain at your company and not your competitors. Unfortunately, we're living in a time where company loyalty doesn't mean what it used to. Millennial workers have a reputation for moving from job to job, always looking out for the next best role that can push them higher in their careers. Businesses that realise the need to look after those who walk through the doors, regardless of the length of their tenure, will be the companies that survive the longest. Doing so either increases the rate at which your employees stay and also leaves a strong impression on those who end up leaving your company.
So, what are some smart ways to achieve this?
1. Know your mission
One of the most important actions a company can take is to make the goals, dreams, and aspirations of the company very clear. How many companies have you worked at where there doesn’t seem to be a driving force behind the business - a long-term goal that you’re all trying to achieve together. More often than not, business leaders get caught up in hitting the next batch of numbers without giving enough thought and motivation to the bigger picture. Your employees, and in particular your millennial employees, are looking for that bigger picture. They want to feel like they are a part of something that is bigger than them. That is what drives them, keeps them engaged, and helps them feel like they belong. Find that north star in your business and ensure you promote it regularly to your teams and you will have a much greater chance of keeping your best employees around.
2. Encourage flexibility
Today's work force is drastically different to that of 15 years ago. They want completely different things from their jobs. Near the top of the list is flexibility. This can be a challenging concept to grasp for those at the top who have been around for a while. Gone are the days of strict 9-to-5 hours. In their place are remote working options, flexible hours, and sabbaticals. But, the more you recognise and promote mobility and flexibility in the workplace, the happier your employees will be, the more motivated they will become, and the more productive they will be too.
3. Provide opportunities for growth
One of the most common reasons why your best talent leaves is because they are looking for growth that either you can’t give them or you haven’t shown them how to attain it. An opportunity for growth doesn’t just mean increased salaries and promotions. It can also mean education, mentorship, and guidance. Your best employees are always looking into the future and wondering how they are going to achieve their goals. If you can play a pivotal role in both helping them find their goals and giving them a helping hand in achieving them, they are far more likely to stick around for the ride. Let them know what career development plans you may have for them and what opportunities are available for them to grow with the company. Don’t, and you’re almost certain to lose your brightest stars.
4. Recognise and reward good work.
Monetary bonuses are always nice, but recognition of a job well done goes a long way to creating goodwill and loyalty. Recognition needs to be specific: “Good job” is acceptable, but “Good job on the XYZ project” is better. In order to retain talent, you must make them feel appreciated, respected and worthwhile. They need to feel that their contributions to the business are important. But the feedback and praise must be sincere. Top talent is smart enough to know the difference between sincere appreciation and platitudes.
We’re living in an environment where the battle for the best talent has never been fiercer. Not only is it difficult to bring the top talent on board but keeping them around is even more challenging. The more attention you give your best talent the more likely they are to stick around. Make them feel valuable, give them a sense of meaning, and help them understand what the future looks like. If you do you’ve got a much better chance of holding onto and attracting the best talent.
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