How to Retain Your Best Talent

You’ve secured the perfect candidate for a role and they are starting next week. Considering the time and money invested in the new employee’s recruitment, you will want them to remain engaged in a productive career with your firm over the long term.

This is particularly important if they have bilingual skills, which are in extremely high demand—and short supply.

Based on the volume of career opportunities that are available to bilingual professionals, it is crucial to have an effective retention strategy in place. Otherwise you may find yourself looking for their replacement all too quickly.

The key to retention is understanding what keeps employees engaged. What gives people a sense of purpose in their role? What keeps them motivated, committed and loyal?

While employees will favour different incentives based on individual preferences, there is a core set of retention strategies that we advise our clients to adopt. This is based on feedback that we receive from jobseekers every day.

Over their first few weeks of employment, new staff form important first impressions about their job, colleagues and the firm. During this time, it is critical to help them feel welcomed and positive about their decision to join your firm. But how do you achieve this?

Start with the basics and ensure you have prepared thoroughly for their arrival. Have a structured plan in place for their first month of employment that outlines what they are expected to deliver, whom they will meet, and training they will undertake.

Encourage questions and schedule regular meetings to demonstrate your interest in their progress. To help them understand the value of their contribution, explain how their work fits into the bigger picture.

Most importantly, assist your new starter in developing relationships and contacts within the firm. This will help accelerate their sense of acceptance and belonging, which is crucial to retention during the early stages of employment.

Creating an internal mentoring programme is an effective way to develop and retain your best performers. As well as gaining exposure to new ideas and ways of thinking, being mentored gives employees increased visibility and recognition within the firm. In addition, it provides them with the opportunity to develop new skills and knowledge.

By following the guidance of a trusted mentor, employees can develop their strengths, overcome their weaknesses, and gain advice on how to best advance their career within the firm. This will ultimately lead to improved performance and engagement in the workplace.

Our market research consistently shows that the opportunity for career growth is the main reason employees stay with a firm. But why? People mostly leave a firm to advance their career and earning potential; if their current employer can facilitate this, there’s far less reason to leave.

High achievers tend to be life-long learners and need continual personal and professional development to remain engaged. They want to invest their talent in a firm that can help enhance their career and expand their existing skill set. Thus, it’s important to provide ongoing training to enable them to progress to their next role.

However, career development does not have to involve costly study grants and external training courses. Challenge your employees with new responsibilities; allow them to lead projects through which they can acquire new skills; or simply provide the opportunity for them to work in different business functions.

The aim is to keep your employees continually learning and, thus, stimulated, engaged and committed to growing within your business.

Employees need to know their efforts will be recognised and rewarded for them to be motivated and give their best. This is the reason that acknowledging and celebrating achievements is one of the most powerful employee retention strategies.

The most fundamental way to recognise employees for their hard work is to provide appropriate monetary rewards, such as a salary increase or bonus. But not all rewards need to be financial.

Saying a genuine “thank you” is an easy way to make people feel valued and encouraged to continue their efforts.

Offering the opportunity to lead a new project is another way to reward positive results. The key is to demonstrate that you are aware of your employees’ hard work, and then reward them for their efforts in ways that they find meaningful.

Think of your investment in retention as an insurance policy on your most critical business asset—your employees.

All firms experience turnover, which can introduce fresh ideas and perspectives. However, when it comes to your best talent, prevention is better than cure. Keeping employees engaged is preferable to offering a salary increase to try to change their mind after they have resigned.