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How to Hold on to Top Talent

    

We found the following article written by Joseph Romano, and thought it was helpful.  The full article can be found here.

“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.”—Lawrence Bossidy, former COO of GE.

Working in the accounting industry in New York for the past 15 years has allowed me to see far more than just numbers. I’ve been privileged to work with many amazing clients, representing companies of all shapes and sizes. I’ve seen start-ups with astonishing technology ultimately fail—but I’ve also seen seemingly ordinary companies grow at astounding rates and be able to sustain that success.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about what sets successful businesses apart from those that don’t last. More and more, I keep coming back to people and culture. Talent from top to bottom in a company seems to be the strongest indicator of success.

Here are five ways to ensure that your company’s employees drive success and unlock its true potential.

1. Place a high value on finding and keeping talent. 

Talent is the driving force behind successful businesses. While it may be difficult to determine the value of each employee, every one of them directly impacts the bottom line—for better or for worse. It’s easy for business owners to become too distanced from their people and to view them as commodities that can be easily replaced. I like to think of employees as assets. The right assets, if managed correctly, create value. Just like a technology patent, a proprietary process, or a strong brand, talented people are true assets to an organization.

2. Understand the real cost of losing great people.

Incurring the costs of hiring and training a new employee is just one of the ways you’ll pay when someone leaves your company. Other potential negatives include the loss of that employee’s contribution, damage to customer and vendor relationships, and the loss of organizational knowledge or intellectual property. Understanding just how much an exodus could affect your organization may help you spend more time and money on talent retention.

It’s much easier to keep a great employee than to find another one, and companies should have a strategic plan for employee retention.

3. Develop a strategic plan to motivate and retain employees. 

I’ve seen many companies develop a recipe of benefits and incentives that make an employee feel the company can help them achieve their personal and professional goals. For some, traditional motivators such as time off, healthcare benefits, and flexibility of scheduling are enough. Businesses should also keep the value of human capital in mind when making healthcare choices in the coming months and years. There are a lot of potential hidden costs and opportunities that must be a factor in deciding what healthcare options to provide or not provide to your employees.

Even small investments in your employees and your culture can have an enormous effect on employee morale. Never underestimate the value of recognition. Rewarding leadership and accomplishment internally, or nominating employees for outside business achievement awards are simple ways to help foster satisfaction and loyalty.

4. Cultivate a culture that leads to happy, motivated employees.

One of the most critical ingredients to having a happy, motivated workplace is security and certainty. Uncertainty about the future of the company or employees’ roles in that future will make them look elsewhere.

I think communication from management is essential. Business owners and company leaders can dispel fears and foster security with effective communication. Share recent successes with your employees while always emphasizing the connection between employee success and company success.

For smaller businesses, personal interaction can go a long way. An engaged leader helps motivate employees and create loyalty.

5. Develop a simple, effective incentive plan.

Many employees, especially the most talented, are motivated by compensation. So be sure that you are paying your employees appropriately for the value they are providing. Consider performance-based incentives, but be sure that any incentive plans are simple and easy to understand. Simpler compensation plans are more effective than complicated plans. I think a good plan can be described in detail over a beer and written on a napkin.

Continuously evaluate and improve your human capital development efforts.

I think it’s critical to look at your human resources as a competitive part of your business. Just as companies compete for clients, customers, or contracts, they are also competing for the best talent. The companies that garner the best talent are usually the ones that also come out ahead when it comes to revenue and profits.

Periodically evaluate your compensation and other benefits and compare them to the competition. If your company isn’t measuring up, find an adviser who understands employee motivation, incentives, and retention.

My experience tells me that people and culture are driving forces behind the vast majority of successful organizations. Technology, marketing, sales, and proprietary knowledge may all be crucial to your organization, but these things are usually driven by human talent. Stay focused on your talent and culture, and your company will live up to its promise.

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