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3 Retention Tactics To Engage And Retain Top Talent

Tempting though it may be, employers needn’t resign themselves to what’s being deemed as the Great Resignation. Instead, they need to be strategic about captivating and retaining high performers.

So why aren’t more organizations focusing on innovative retention tactics? To be fair, many look at the high numbers of people leaving workplaces and decide they can’t fight the trend. And the trend is understandably daunting. As of November 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that around 4.5 million workers had quit their jobs. Those millions didn’t include layoffs, discharges, or separations, either. They were people who said goodbye to their companies.

Are the figures scary and overwhelming, especially for businesses trying to compete or engage in ambitious growth plans? You bet. At the same time, they reveal an important fact: Employees just aren’t motivated by the status quo anymore. That doesn’t mean they can’t be motivated by something else, though.

What does this mean to you as an employer? You have to rethink your employee experience tactics. Yes, you need to offer generous paid time off, access to a reasonable healthcare plan, and retirement account options. However, those are the bare minimum items to get talent in the door. From there, you need to hold onto your talent by providing them with irresistible perks they’re not getting elsewhere.

Below are some of the strategic ways you can encourage your best team members to remain with you and create an environment where all employees can thrive and excel at their roles. They may not stay long enough to earn a 30-year gold watch, but they’ll eschew the Great Resignation to stay with your brand.

1. Present employees with formal mentoring opportunities.

Mentorships can transform the way your employees feel about your company. Strong mentor-worker relationships create bonds that aren’t easily shaken. They also allow you to start developing leaders from within your organization and fostering a “we’re in this together” atmosphere.

MentorCloud, a cloud-based employee mentoring platform, notes that employees who undergo mentoring experience a bump-up in perceived organizational support (POS). The feeling of POS can be a huge motivator to workers. Rather than thinking of themselves as nameless cogs, they believe their contributions matter. Over time, their POS will grow as they uncover and hone talents with the help of their mentors.

Starting an on-the-job mentorship program requires some upfront planning, though. Don’t just expect mentors and mentees to figure out how to make their relationship work. Map it out for them and schedule check-ins to see how the mentoring is going. Ideally, your internal mentorship system should become a way to promote from within and target C-suite successors.

2. Put a premium on upskilling and reskilling.

Have you thought about offering new hires money toward paying off their student loan debt? That’s a nice benefit but you may want to extend toward underwriting the cost of future training, too. As mentioned in a CIO article, nearly six out of every 10 workers could use some upskilling. Without new skills, those workers can’t feel proficient or remain productive.

Of course, you’ll want to control the reskilling that you offer. You don’t want to pay for an employee to take a music appreciation course if you’re not in the music business, after all. Therefore, begin to look at the knowledge gaps across your organizational ecosystem. In today’s era, those gaps will probably pertain to some kind of technology.

After identifying skills areas that are lacking in your company, you can target specific employees to take coursework. Be sure to figure out upfront how you’ll adjust your team members’ responsibilities so they have time to learn. The more transparent your upskilling program, the fewer glitches you’ll run into.

3. Pass out empowerment raises.

You tell your employees that you trust them. Show them you’re serious by empowering them to think more like owners than staff. For example, you may authorize certain personnel to make decisions up to a specific dollar figure. That way, they don’t have to ask permission every time they need to solve a problem.

Empowerment can come in other forms as well. You could enable people to manage their schedules, including working virtually when needed. Or you might want to give workers a specific amount of money per person. The money could be earmarked to pay for resources that help those workers do their jobs. This could include anything from buying an ergonomic chair for a home office to paying for the latest image editing software.

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When you transfer responsibility and power to your team members, you’re showing them that you aren’t kidding when you say they’re important. As a side effect, you may find that your employees start taking their roles more seriously.

It’s time to think of the Great Resignation in a new light. Don’t allow the high national quit rate to keep you up at night. Use it as a springboard to develop creative ways to attract great job candidates and keep employees happy.

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