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October 10, 2017
Human Resources  |  8 min read

How to Train and also Retain Your Best Talent

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Maria Baranowska

In today’s fast-moving job market you are constantly at risk of losing your top performers—getting them on board is just the start. 

The best companies know that they need to reinvest in their top talent to lessen employee turnover. Contrary to popular opinion, just showing up does not mean your talent is engaged. You could be in for a surprise in the near future when some of the talent you depend on most start to leave. 

According to Guv Jassal, director of Washington Frank, a specialist technology recruitment company, there are a few commitments you need to make to keep your best talent happy, engaged, and loyal. 

Daily coaching 

Regardless of whether your new employee is an intern or top executive, you need to instill the same daily coaching practices at all levels of the business. As a manager, you should be able to recognize emerging talent as it moves through the ranks if you want to engage and retain that talent within your organization. 

“Even your best talent needs daily coaching and guidance. If they are new to the role or organization they might need a bit more hand-holding until they get settled,” advises Jassal. 

Coaching needn’t be a formal process, instead, build feedback and coaching into your interactions to make it a daily conversation. This can help employees learn faster and feel engaged and committed to their goals.

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Essentially, coaching employees builds better relationships, and relationships are the secret sauce of employee engagement according to Effortless HR. These efforts will better position your company to scale and nurture your talent.

Follow the training plan 

“Lack of training, development, and growth is one of the primary reasons your best talent might walk out the door on you sooner than you think! Top talent needs to be trained, developed, and given projects that add to their skill and knowledge level. It does cost time and money, however, not doing so can be infinitely more costly,” warns Jassal.

It is no secret that when you take the time to help your employees improve their skills they can develop a greater sense of self-worth and become more valuable to the company. It also has the added benefit of helping you to prevent costly performance problems.

There are a lot of resources online you could use to help you formulate a custom training plan for your organization. Activities such as attending conferences, working with a mentor, or self-study should be considered. This supportive environment will give them the incentive to stay with you.

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Don’t set it and forget it. Once the plan is in place, you need to follow up to ensure it is being fully implemented. Also, bear in mind that employee training doesn’t end with new hires.

Management by objectives 

Another way to improve motivation and commitment to your organization is to clearly define objectives that are agreed by both management and employees. This Management by Objectives approach, first popularized by Peter Drucker, makes sure everyone is on the same page. 

Objectives help to break down bigger goals that could be seen as unachievable, into bitesize chunks focussed on individual contribution. They should be challenging but achievable with a clearly defined action plan and a focus on personal development, this will appeal to top talent who are interested in pushing their careers to the next level.

Be careful not to focus too heavily on setting goals, instead work on putting an action plan together that outlines how goals will be achieved. Speaking from experience, Jassal says “giving your top talent empowerment to set their own goals and outline their paths to achieving them will give them greater motivation and commitment.”

Cultivate culture

One of the most important commitments you need to make as a manager is to create a culture that makes your talent feel like an asset to your company. As a person in a position of responsibility, it can be very powerful to take the time to speak to your employees on a one to one basis. Make sure they know that you know who they are and what they contribute to the business.

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“You need to be willing to really listen to the concerns of your employees and be available when they ask for guidance. Where you can, get input on any rules or changes that may need to be made. All of this will make your top talent feel respected, included and valuable,” adds Jassal. 

Celebrate success 

While a good salary can help to attract the best talent, it is not always enough to keep them. Top talent wants to be recognized and appreciated and this doesn’t necessarily require monetary rewards. 

It may sound simple, but giving praise is a powerful (and nice) approach that is often overlooked. It can be easy to get bogged down with busy schedules and increasing workloads but try to remember to offer encouragement along the way. A simple “thank you” can go a long way. 

“It can be easy to focus on what’s not working and how to change it while forgetting to recognize what has gone well,” says Jassal. “Sometimes you just need to take the time to stop and celebrate it.” 

On top of thanking your employees, you could consider offering incentives wherever possible. An all-expenses-paid trip, a night out, a nice meal or a bottle of wine can be great ways to celebrate your talent’s success.

In conclusion

Strengthening your business starts with keeping your employees on board. You need to provide clear career paths and identify opportunities for people to shine in their role. The longer an employee stays the more skills they acquire and, in theory, the more they can benefit your organization.

Retention strategies, like the ones mentioned above, are important because they help create a positive work environment, strengthen your top talent’s commitment to the organization, and ultimately improve your ROI.

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Maria Baranowska is a socially responsible marketer and writer passionate about technology and business. Maria writes regularly for sites across this community and loves to observe this fast-changing landscape through her writing.

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