What Great Managers Do To Retain Top Talent

What Great Managers Do To Retain Top Talent

Every organisation these days should have programs designed to retain and nurture their rising stars. With good reason, the number one reason people change jobs is due to lack of opportunities for advancement.  It’s no surprise that every manager wants to keep their best employees, but a good manager doesn’t hoard talent – they develop their employees by investing in them, building on their strengths, and providing opportunities to innovate. While much of the responsibility for retaining talent falls to the organisation as a whole, with HR playing a big part in culture and development, there are many ways a manager can foster this too. Here’s how.

Celebrate success

Everyone wants to be part of a winning team. To encourage high performance, good work needs to be recognised and rewarded. Monetary bonuses are nice, but recognition of a job well done goes a long way to creating good will and loyalty too. In order to retain top talent, you must make your employees feel appreciated, respected and worthwhile. Feedback and praise must be sincere. Top talent is smart enough to know the difference between sincere appreciation and platitudes.

Create an open and honest work environment

Your employees need to feel like they can collaborate and that their input is valued.

  • Really listen: Give feedback on work performed and be willing to listen – really listen – to the concerns of your employees.
  • Be open and approachable: Do not always “own” the outcome and be open to accepting suggestions or new ways of thinking.
  • Utilise their strengths: The beauty of hiring people who are different to yourself is the added expertise and competencies your team now has.
  • Practice transparent communication: Keep your top talent informed about what is happening within the company.
  • Don’t let issues fester: If there are problems or setbacks, communicate through them and tackle them head on so you can move on.

Connect their work to a higher purpose

To better engage employees, you need to make connections with their hearts, not just their minds. To do this, you must help them understand how their specific job affects the end product or service and how their work matters.

Provide opportunities to grow and learn

Your employees need to feel they have the ability to develop.

  • Be transparent: Communicate what development plans and advancement opportunities are available openly and honestly, even if these opportunities exist outside of your team.
  • Explore mentoring programs: These can provide a mutually beneficial outcome as both parties are learning whilst the mentor is sharpening their leadership skills.
  • Consider internal development programs: Ongoing education does not necessarily need to come in the form of expensive degrees, it can be through internal development programs with an SME (subject matter expert).
  • Encourage internal networking: Seize opportunities for your team to collaborate with other departments across the company.

Create a stimulating work environment

Your employees need to feel like an asset to your company and secure in their job.

  • Involve them in the process: Get their input about procedures or changes.
  • Empower them: Encourage goal setting and let them make their own choices as often as possible.
  • Align benefits to them: When it comes to change, communicate the why and the benefits to them.

Know what motivates your employees

Long gone are the days when we thought of employees as a homogenous group with similar interests and motivations. Today, workplaces span four generations. Today, a career is about much more than job stability. It’s about opportunity, transparency, growth, and personal fulfilment. Employees want to build their own future and feel empowered by what they do. So don’t just assume to know what motivates each member in your team, put effort into truly understanding it.

Be willing to let them go

Though it may seem counterintuitive, develop your employees fully aware that they may spread their wings and move on to new opportunities. Often times, leaders who develop internal champions are hesitant to let them go, not wanting to lose their skills and knowledge to another department or organisation. But a good manager will consider the big picture. When employees know you’re investing in them, testing their limits and rewarding them, they are happy and more likely to want to stay and grow with your organisation. Maybe not in your department, but that’s OK.

How will you improve the retention of your top talent? I’m interested to learn how you build the foundation for success by actively and effectively engaging your employees. Comment your views below and join the conversation.

This article was written by Jelena Milutinovic on behalf of the Australian Institute of Business. All opinions are that of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of AIB. The following sources were used to compile this article: Harvard Business Review; Fortune and The Sydney Morning Herald

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