Part 2 of 3
In part 1 we discussed 3 keys to attracting the right talent for your team, including defining your ideal candidate, hiring for attitude and core values alignment, and rigorous talent selection strategies.
In this part 2 of the series, we will discuss retaining and keeping your top talent engaged and committed by fostering a positive work environment, effectively managing your team, and nurturing your high-performers. Use this as a check list. Some things you no doubt can check off. There may be others you want to implement or revisit. Remember, knowing without doing is worth almost nothing.
Part 2: Retention: Keeping Your Top Talent Engaged and Committed
Fostering a Positive Work Environment
Encourage Open Communication
Cultivating a positive work environment is integral to retaining top talent. Encourage open communication within your organization, promoting transparency and fostering trust among team members. Create safety so that people are not afraid of candidly sharing their thoughts. This approach helps employees feel valued, contributing to their overall satisfaction and commitment to the company.
Guard against an undermining of open communication through retaliation, commentary, and defensiveness. Listen carefully to your managers and team members to make sure their language and actions are in line with safe and open communication. Encouraging open communication and then punishing it in any way creates dissonance and insecurity among your team.
Provide Opportunities for Growth and Development
Offering growth and development opportunities is essential for keeping your team members engaged and committed. Being there for them and giving them your undivided attention in regular 1 on 1 meetings gives you an opportunity to hear them and support them in their growth and development. Bringing in outside experts to provide varied perspectives and new ideas can lead to personal and professional growth opportunities. Empower your team by providing them with access to training, mentorship programs, and challenging projects that allow them to expand their skill sets and advance their careers within your organization.
There are many ways to foster personal and professional growth. Moving into management is only one road. Skills development, especially interpersonal communication, emotional intelligence, and other skills outside the strict bounds of their job description can lead to growth, development, and fulfillment among your team.
Effective Employee Management
Set Clear Expectations and Performance Metrics
It all starts with clarity. Nobody is a mind-reader. If you aren’t explicit in your expectations, how can anyone reach them? So, to ensure your team members remain focused and motivated, establish clear expectations around behaviors, job accountabilities, and performance metrics. Clearly defined goals and objectives enable employees to understand their roles and responsibilities.
Another area where you will want to consider being explicit and repetitive is how their work impacts the organization’s success. How does what they do contribute to the success of the organization? What is obvious for you may not be for them.
Offer Regular Feedback and Recognition
Regular feedback and recognition play a vital role in retaining top talent. Your 1 on 1 meetings provide the best opportunity for you to operationalize this and make it a repeatable habit. Periodic performance reviews, goals setting, and constructive feedback can further help your team identify areas for improvement and growth. Recognize their achievements and celebrate successes during your 1 on 1 meetings to foster a sense of accomplishment and pride in their work. Then celebrate publicly, sharing their stories of success throughout your organization and beyond.
Identify and Develop Top Talent
Invest time and effort in identifying your organization’s high-performers and focus on nurturing their growth. Have a repeatable process for you and your managers to sort them into A, B, C, and D players. I like to use 4 quadrants with qualifying criteria around Core Values and job performance. Provide your B players with targeted development opportunities, support, and resources to help them reach their full potential. Nurture, recognize, and support your A players to ensure they feel that they matter and continue to contribute to your organization’s success. And encourage your C and D players to find a team better suited to their values and talents.
Implement Performance Improvement Plans for Underperformers
Address underperformance proactively by implementing performance improvement plans. These don’t always need to be formal or disciplinary but can be part of your regular 1 on 1 meetings, helping them acquire the skills and prioritize their efforts to meet and exceed your clear performance standards. Work closely with underperforming employees, specifically your B players, to identify their challenges, provide guidance, and set achievable goals to help them improve. By demonstrating your commitment to their success, you can motivate them to overcome obstacles and elevate their performance.
For your C and D players, have a plan to exit them gracefully with respect and dignity. Just because they aren’t a fit for your organization, doesn’t mean they aren’t an A player in another position on another team.
Like in part 1, since ideas without implementation are worth little, take a moment and write down 3 things you will do to implement these ideas in your business.
And stay tuned for Part 3: Culture: Building a Strong and Cohesive Team.