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5 Tips on Keeping and Engaging Your Top Talent

Richard Branson, author, philanthropist, and founder of Virgin Records said, “A company’s employees are its greatest asset and your people are your product.” I couldn’t have said it any better. Employees are the life blood of your organization and the top talent within your workforce will keep pushing your organization to the next level. So why is it so hard to keep them? Many businesses struggle with employee turnover, and sometimes turnover is okay. However, when a business is losing it top employees, but when small businesses lose their top talent it may be even more of a concern. In this post we’ll provide 5 tips on keeping and engaging your top talent.

The cost of turnover

Statistics from Bersin by Deloitte research show that the average voluntary turnover rate is 13 percent (Visier). This may not seem very high but consider that the estimated costs of turnover is about “one-third of that worker's annual earnings, including expenses such as recruiter fees, temporary replacement workers and lost productivity (SHRM). That rate can create a profit loss for small businesses. Now imagine the cost of only two of your top talent leaving. The loss of top talent is not only monetary, but the cost of future growth and potential. So, what can you do to retain your top talent? Below are five tips on retaining top talent.

1. Have an Employee Engagement Strategy & Plan

The first step in retaining employees is to have a written employee engagement strategy in place. Many employees leave their organization because of lack of feeling connected to their manager or coworkers or to the vision/purpose of the organization. Therefore, a key component of employee retention is the employee experience. Creating an engagement strategy is about considering critical points throughout the employee life cycle where you can strategically make an impact to improve the employee experience. For example, during the onboarding phase you can help your talent feel excited and hopeful by connecting new employees to other employees who can show them the ropes.

Download a free employee engagement plan template to get you started with creating a strategy.

2. Have clear expectations and policies

A sure-fire way to increase employee dissatisfaction and turnover is to have unclear expectations and policies. Employees want to clearly understand their job duties, company policies, and the performance metrics that they will be measured by. Leaders should clearly communicate their expectations and how the employee’s performance will be measured. Policies should be communicated clearly and regularly. Utilizing an electronic system for policy and employment acknowledgment signoff is a good way for organizations to easily manage, communicate and document important policies. HRIS systems such as the OrangeHRM, a cloud based HRMS, has a document management module that helps organizations better manage their documents making it easier to store critical documents all in one place. Additionally, employees can easily view necessary documents through the Employee Profile module.

3. Have a good benefits program

Many people think that salary is the main reason why employees leave an organization. However, this is not entirely true. Employees who find value in the entire benefits program will be more likely to stay even if they consider their salary to be low. Benefits that are not typical such as gym access or an on-site daycare are especially valuable to employees. An article written by Harry West noted that organizations that allow for a flexible work schedule will see a positive impact on the business. Workers with a flexible work schedule tend to be happier and more productive. An increase in productivity is an increase in the company’s bottom line.

4. Have a culture of two-way communication

A culture based on open two-way communication will go a long way to keeping employees satisfied. Giving employees the opportunity to speak their minds, share and be recognized for their ideas and contributions, address conflicts and have a part in the company’s growth will significantly improve employees’ morale. An important way to do is this is through the performance discussion. The performance discussion is a great opportunity for two-way communication. More will be discussed about performance management in part two of this series. Another option for two-way communication with employees is through an employee survey. Data collected from a satisfaction survey can provide an organization with invaluable information about the unspoken culture of the workplace. A survey is a great way to better understand if there is an issue in the workplace that will create immediate and long-term turnover. A survey is an important part of an overall strategy because many employees are too shy to share their concerns or opinions in an open forum but may have more courage to speak up about their concerns through an anonymous survey. Overall, understanding how your employees feel will help in retaining them.

5. Provide opportunities for training and development

Organizations that invest in their employees through training and professional development will significantly increase employee engagement. Research conducted by Robert Half noted that 42% of employees said that their job satisfaction weighed heavily on having opportunities for career development. Whether in-house training, online courses or if tuition reimbursement is offered, employees are sure to appreciate this benefit. High performers are often looking for continued education as well as new learning opportunities for professional growth. Professional development opportunities are a great incentive for top talent retention.

The End Game

These 5 tips for keeping and engaging your top talent will get you on a great path towards success, but don’t stop there. Continue to look for creative ways to keep your top talent engaged. The cost of losing top employees is far greater than the cost to keep them.

Something more to consider…

If employees still decide to leave, having a good exit interview and off-boarding process in place with help organizations use the data to put preventative measures in place. Off-boarding is a great opportunity to collect data on the reasons why employees are leaving. This will allow the organization to understand what the barriers to retention may be and work to improve the situation. Also, organizations should be sure treat outgoing employees well during the exit process as there might be an opportunity for you to ask them to return in the future.

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