Three Tips for Retaining Your Top Employees

I had the good fortune to hear a luncheon talk by an HR pro by the name of Jack Smalley. Jack, who is with Express Employment Professionals, was the guest speaker at the SHRM- Atlanta year end luncheon. The basic theme of his talk was organizational change, but wrapped up in that presentation were three tips for retaining your top employees.
His first tip dealt with communication. Through the use of a couple stories Jack emphasized that communication is critical to keeping your good employees, particularly in times of stress. His story dealt with a corporate sale where the selling company kept employees in the dark. As it became apparent that something was going on, such as due diligence visitors, the key employees started leaving. They were able to get jobs so rather than dealing with the uncertainty of the sale they opted to go to a situation where they at least had some input on what was happening. By the time the sale was announced a large percentage of the better employees had jumped ship. The lesson in this is that you cannot communicate too much about what is going on. Employees do not like “mushroom management.” This advice is as relevant today as it has ever been, perhaps even more so. It is critical that you retain your best and brightest and to do that they have to have the “sunshine” of communication.
A second tip that I feel had some relevance to retain you best was one that dealt with recognition. Jack advised the group to make sure you are asking your best employees their advice. No more powerful recognition to your importance to the organization than to ask a valued employee what they think… about whatever you are concerned about. You will get a perspective that you may not have had before.
The third tip I got from Smalley’s presentation came when he made the statement “Re-recruit” your best employees. Recognize why they were attractive enough to recruit in the first place. Remind them of why you found them interesting. Again this kind of attention will pay dividends in retaining these valued assets.
In conclusion let me ask you HR pros out there what you would add to these tips on how to retain your best employees? What have your successfully done?

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