Engagement Strategies to Lock In Your Top Talent

Close your eyes and imagine your top performer. Envision them busy at work, accomplishing their job like an All-Star. Feel the energy of their diligence, enthusiasm and dedication to getting the job done with quality results. Hear their voice eagerly sharing brilliant ideas and feel the whirl of activity around them. Bask in the glow of the irreplaceable contribution they’ve been making to your team.

Now, imagine them gone. Imagine looking over into their cubicle and seeing a vacant seat. Notice the dark computer screen and dust gently collecting on the surface of their station. Imagine the deafening silence.

If you think your top performers are here to stay, think again. The current job market has created an intensified, lurking threat to organizations basking in the glow of their top talent. While employees may not be initiating job searches, searches are on the rise for them. Companies with vacant seats are on the hunt to find desired talent with one goal in mind: Lure them away with a golden ticket for a shiny new opportunity.

Now more than ever, employers need to rethink their employee engagement strategy. Engagement is more than necessary, it’s vital. If you think ping pong tables, a beer tap and “Jeans Day” will do the trick and keep your organization safe, think again.

Engagement goes beyond activity, it’s about investment: Investing first in your employees. Employees who feel valued and invested in by their employers are more likely to invest in the future of the company.

Not sure where to start? Here are 2 powerful engagement strategies to lock in your top talent:

  • Career Map: If you can’t see their future, neither can they. Outline the direction you see your employee taking within your organization. It doesn’t have to be a 5 or 10-year plan. Start simple: Their current role. Where do they excel? Is there an opportunity to evolve their role to focus more specifically on their strengths? Is there an opportunity for them to lead? Whatever you see, the key is to communicate your vision to the employee. It can be as informal as a conversation or part of a performance review.

  •  Grow skills: If you’re worried about investing time and money into an employee’s professional development just to have them walk their newly acquired skills out the door, consider the alternative. (Do you really want to keep an employee around who isn’t developing new skills?) Time and money have already been invested into securing, training and retaining your employee, let alone the additional cost of starting from scratch. Is it worth the risk?

Where should you start? Consider knowledge and skills that would enhance their role and future career track. Some examples include technical/software skills, acquiring a degree/certificate, or developing interpersonal skills (e.g. communication, leadership).

The key to retaining top talent is being proactive, including clearly communicating your interest in investing in your employees. Let them know you’re working towards the goal of securing their trust and employment for the long haul.

Want to learn more about why engaging your employees matters? Don’t miss the “What’s Your Employee Experience & Why Does it Matter?” session at EANE’s 2019 Employment Law & HR Update on Thursday, November 7.