5 Tips for Engaging and Retaining your Top Talent

You’ve just spent valuable time, energy and money over the last 90 days looking for the RIGHT Talent to fill a critical seat in your company – AND you’ve found an amazing A Player who fits the bill perfectly for what you need to grow the company.

But now that you’ve made a great hire, how do you keep them?  (HINT: It’s not about the money.)

Remember, people join companies but they leave managers.  And if you don’t have the RIGHT engagement and management practices in place, all of the money that you’ve just spent advertising, interviewing and onboarding that bright A player has just gone out the window.

So how do you make sure that your big investment gives you a great return?

Read on below for 5 practical and “implementable” ideas for onboarding and retaining talent…

(And – if you missed our last blog on “attracting and auditioning” A players, check it out here…)

 1)    Know your employee’s ½ Life.

Most A players (especially Millennials) won’t be lifetime employees.  If you’ve got a great one, understand what their end game is for their careers, their learning goals, their aspirations and figure out the “runway” for when they’ll probably leave for other opportunities.  One CEO I know put that on the table right away with an A player she had hired for a critical position by asking how long she could expect to keep him.  When he told her three years she asked, “What opportunities and experiences would I have to give you to keep you for five?”  Whatever you do, don’t assume that they have the same time line as you do.  And make it a priority to engage them.  (Check out Gallup’s Q12 if you want to learn more about how to drive engagement.)

 2)    Ask them for their expectations – as well as what de-motivates them.

What does your new A player need from you?  How do they want to be managed?  What’s the best form of positive recognition that they’ve ever received and why? Will they tell you if something is wrong or will you have to ask? What do they want to learn in their role and how often do they want to meet?  What de-motivates them? These are just some of the questions that you should ask of them in their first week to make sure that you’re living up to your side of the equation.  The appendix in “First, Break All the Rules” has more great onboarding questions.

3)    Use your job scorecard to reinforce your expectations.

Remember that “job scorecard” you created for the position BEFORE you interviewed?  Make sure that you share it (on their first day) with your new hire to clarify what you expect from them and what results you’re looking for – both quantitative and qualitative.  Be as specific as possible with the behaviors you’re expecting and that the business and position require (HINT: They should be reflective of your Core Values) as well as the target for key performance indicators like customer satisfaction and retention (for a Client Services role) or on-time delivery for an operations role.

4)    Have a 90 Day Plan.

Use your job scorecard to create a 90 Day plan.  Most people do much better with 90 day goals according to a recent article cited by Adam Grant, versus yearly or even quarterly goals.  Make sure that you have two or three items that your new hire is expected to accomplish – not just learning goals but real business goals.  Have them document what they’re learning and use them to help systematize your operation.  Have them create a checklist for onboarding so that the next person that you onboard has an easier time.  And make sure that you’ve got regular face to face meeting scheduled to review their progress.  Once every two weeks at least.

5)    Use the 15/five to supplement your face to face meetings.

Use a “blended” approach to managing new people as well as your current staff.  We’ve been recommending a “triumvirate” approach to managing talent to all of our clients: a clear scorecard; the 15/five software system which helps your employees to focus on their priorities and goals and facilitates communication even when the “work gets in the way; and face to face ½ hour meetings at least once/ month that are focused on the employee’s performance. It’s too easy to get distracted by the day to day fires and a strong management “system” can help shore you up when you inevitably get side-tracked.

People aren’t the only challenge to growing a business.  Just like a sturdy table has 4 solid legs, a sustainable business needs to manage Four Decisions™.  You’ve got to have a great Strategy, enough Cash and disciplined Execution to get your Plan done in addition to having the right Team.

But what’s your “short leg”?  Where are you vulnerable to being overtaken by your competition?

Take advantage of an upcoming opportunity to find out and learn the “Scaling Up” best practices that will help you create a more profitable and robust company.

Sign up NOW for our one day Annual Planning session on January 18th You’ll have the chance to work with your team to determine the right path forward for 2016 and come away with a draft One Page Plan that will get you a head start in your planning!  As Stephen Covey said, “Don’t neglect what’s Important for what’s merely Urgent.”

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