Holding Onto Key Employee Talent

As a leader in your organization, has the following thought recently crossed your mind:

“My key talent isn’t going to leave because they have nowhere else to go.”

Many research studies and my own personal experiences demonstrate that leading up to and following reductions in force, employee morale, productivity and engagement decrease. Given the current economic climate, managing your talent is just as critical as managing your overall business. Let’s face it , critical talent always has options, regardless of market conditions.

Organizations need to ensure that they keep, motivate and reassure their key talent. This is especially important if your organization is faced with salary/bonus freezes, falling share prices and the potential for talent poaching.

A question all employees ask and all employers should address is: “What’s In It For Me?” Don’t assume that what motivates one employee will work for another. Some employees are motivated by compensation while others need opportunities to advance, grow and develop. Before you implement retention solutions, understand your employees’ answers to this question.

To learn what motivates your employees, especially key talent proactively engage them. Here are two tried-and-true ways to make it happen:

  • Communicate: Don’t avoid communication. Regular communication with the entire employee base is essential to keeping everyone engaged and discovering effective ways to motivate them. Additional focused communication with key employees will allow you to discover the most optimal ways to engage them and to enlist their talents in tackling current business challenges.
  • Strive for Transparency: Answer employees’ questions as directly as possible. As a leader, you need to convey difficult messages in a way that helps employees understand the rationale for actions and decisions. Otherwise, employees are only left with speculation and assumption.
  • Proactively reaching out to your employees to understand their concerns and interests can pave the way to not only engaging them, but also retaining them. Being a leader and managing during these difficult times is neither simple nor easy. However, skillfully and strategically managing your employees will determine whether you have the key talent you need to remain competitive in today’s marketplace.

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