Engage Your Top Talent Before You Lose It

They are the stars of your teams, the overachievers and the high performers. But how do you engage your top talent and prevent turnover?

It’s not enough to hire top talent

Talent is in high demand. Valuable, high performing employees are even scarcer. The “war for talent” was projected to be one of the top employee engagement trends in 2014. Demographic data, economic conditions and social tendencies have made it clear to analysts that talent will be limited in the years to come.

The pressure keeps building on companies to find and employ top talent to stay ahead of their industry. But what they are frequently missing is the fact that they need to engage and retain that talent. This can prove to be as tricky a task as recruiting it in the first place.

A common mistake is to assume that high potentials are highly engaged. Jean Martin and Conrad Schmidt explain why in a Harvard Business Review article.

Develop your talent

When you bring great people on board, you have a moral responsibility to offer them the space and resources that they need to grow. It’s the only way you will get the ROI for your hiring decision. It’s also a mandatory requirement to ensure high employee retention rates.

To do that, you have to equip your company with qualified managers. People with the right knowledge, the right experience and, most importantly, the right attitude. You need servant managers who won’t be afraid to grow their team because it might threaten their position. Nurturing talent has mutual benefits, allowing the leader to grow through the progress of his team.

A manager who understands the need to develop his team will also realize the necessity of engaging everyone, not just the high performers. You’ll want to recognize and encourage the efforts of high potential employees but you shouldn’t marginalize the others. Focusing only on top talent might seem like a sure win but it will hurt your engagement in the long-run, as well as your talent pipeline. These efforts pay off tremendously in better results, productivity and retention rates.

Like Susan M. Heathfield  points out in her article 6 More Ways to Retain Your Great Employees, your best employees, those employees you want to retain, seek frequent opportunities to learn and grow in their careers, knowledge and skill.

Here’s how you can engage your talent

1. Respect is the biggest perk you can offer an employee.

2. The people in your team are the best at what they do, that’s why you selected them. So trust their decisions and let them know you support their actions.

3. Lead by example.

4. Don’t take people for granted. Even if there’s a contract between you and an employee, there is also a relationship there. One that needs to be smartly built.

5. Giving people freedom doesn’t mean losing control. They will be more productive, more satisfied with their work and more eager to give more, if they are free to build their own workspace.

6. You’re not Thor. The glorious burden of management is not just upon you. It’s on your entire team. You can manage their talent and development and they will manage the results. Trust your team.

7. Practice gratitude. Studies show that gratitude can increase happiness by 25%.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in engaging top talent in your company?

Image via StockSnap.io under C.C.0 license