April 29, 2015

5 ways to retain talent in a hot employment market

“The British are coming, the British are coming,” warned Paul Revere during the American Revolution. In this current employment market, I’m warning all senior executives: The competition is coming, the competition is coming -- for your top talent.

Senior executives need to consciously devote an extensive amount of time to employee retention in the immediate future. The employment market, especially at the senior level, has shifted to a true seller’s market. Accordingly, your employees are ripe targets for competitors or other employers in general.

For the first time in perhaps seven years, employees are exhibiting signs of restlessness and are susceptible to overtures of new and exciting career challenges and, of course, money. Our executive search unit is seeing an unparalleled demand at all levels across the organization chart, while salaries are being bid up at rates not seen since the early 2000s.

Here are five ways you can retain your top talent in this hot employment market:

1. Pinpoint top workers: Identify high potential employees and compensate them at or above the market rate. Do not take them for granted.

2. Invest in research: Ensure you are paying competitive rates by confirming your salary data is accurate. Invest in a compensation study from a reputable firm to put some science into the equation. Do not leave it up to guesswork and Googling.

3. Provide education: Share the love with your high potential employees that goes beyond straight-forward salary enhancements. Send them to training courses and provide other development opportunities at your company.

4. Safeguard against outside parties: Consider putting up technology firewalls to block outside parties from talking to your best and brightest. In the past, Coca-Cola shut down its voicemail system, which gives people one less way to communicate with workers.

5. Update agreements: Make sure your non-compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality agreements are up to date. These measures will make someone think twice about leaving your company.

In all, whatever you do, do not put your head in the sand and think no one is looking at your top talent. It’s a seller’s market, and the competition is coming for your best employees.

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