Team playing: How to ensure you keep your top talent onside

Let your team know their contribution is important to the company

With the economy picking up and hiring departments headhunting more actively, companies will face greater challenges in retaining and developing their best talents. 

Indeed, the problem may be bigger than you think.

Researchers from CEBR and the Hay Group say that, in 2018, the number of employees heading out the door will rise to 192m worldwide, an increase of more than 34 per cent compared to 2012.

They also suggest that the turnover rate in the UK will reach its peak sometime later this year.

So what can you do about it?


Giving your best performers proper incentives is not a new idea, but it’s not always easy to know what to pay. After analysing more than 13,000 salaries over two years, researchers at the online payments platform Namely found that, on average, high performing employees need to earn 35 per cent more than low performers and 27 per cent more than core performers to maximise retention. And when it comes to compensation, there is a salary sweet spot. For those both above and below that point, Namely found that turnover was higher. Employees on low salaries may feel undervalued. And while those on higher pay will likely be in high-demand roles (like technology) and thus have other options to choose from, the good news is that top performers were 118 per cent more likely to remain with their company than low performers.


Great employees will definitely care about their salary, but once you get compensation right, retaining talent will require some smart perks. These may include cultivating a sense of ownership or developing a great company culture, Namely’s chief executive Matt Straz says.
As researchers from management consultancy RHR International say, investing in employee growth sends a strong signal that they are valued by the business and lets them envision a future with the company. “This is particularly important since executives advancing through the ranks are particularly attractive to outsiders,” they note. In other words, if you let your best employees stagnate, the grass will always look greener at other firms.


To maximise the chances of top performers staying, smart managers will ensure that they are a cultural fit before they’ve even joined: “Retention actually starts well before the first day of work, before any employment contracts are signed and before any offers are made,” says Jerome Ternynck, founder of SmartRecruiters. We tend to overemphasise the importance of knowledge and skills in making a long-term hire, and he suggests that we should also pay attention to personality and cultural fit. “Bear in mind that you can train for skill, but you can’t train for personality,” Ternynck adds.
To hire for retention, he recommends you treat a candidate for a position like your equal, advertise your employer’s brand and provide them with plenty of choice: “They have to know they are choosing you just as much as you are choosing them,” he says.

Switch: Tinder for job seekers

Switch lets you browse through job listings, swiping right on those you’re interested in and left on those you’re not too keen on. Hiring managers do the same with candidate profiles.
Much like in dating apps, you only get notified when there is a match between both users. This gives an advantage to employees who may want to seek new opportunities without doing an active search. Hiring managers also save time, as the information on display is meant to be easily grasped.

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