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High-performing employees slipping away? Here’s expert advice on retaining your top talent

Business Tips
employees sitting in an office space

Hub Australia

26th May 2023

In today’s fast-paced world of work, finding and keeping high-performing employees is a make-or-break factor for outshining your competition. Over the past few years, companies have battled through the war for talent, seeing their best employees slip through their fingers and leaving them scrambling to fill positions.

To some, this may seem like an inevitable part of the recruitment process—people come and go, and there’s not much you can do about it. While this may be true to a limited extent, it’s this attitude that will see you fall behind.

Using advice from workplace experts, we’ve distilled some essential strategies to help you nurture your most valuable asset: your employees. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear roadmap to unlock the potential of high-performing employees and create a workplace where top talent thrives.


Regularly acknowledge good work

If you want to keep your high-performing employees, it’s crucial to recognise their hard work and efforts. Many high performers are fueled by recognition and appreciation, so celebrate their accomplishments and acknowledge their contributions.

Put a regular feedback process in place, like quarterly reviews and weekly 1:1s, and ensure feedback is both positive and constructive, highlighting strengths and areas for improvement. By doing so, you show that you’re invested in their growth and development and that you appreciate the effort they put into their work.

Recognition platforms like Kudos, Lattice, and Nectar also make it easy for members of your team to give and receive thanks among eachother. They all integrate with communication software like Slack and Microsoft Teams and are customisable to suit your organisation. Ultimately, the key is to show your employees that what they’re doing is getting noticed.


Provide opportunities for growth and development to your top talent

Tristan Wright, Head Sherpa at Evolve to Grow, proposes that the key to retaining talented employees is to give them a genuine chance to progress in their careers.

“High-performing employees are often looking for opportunities to learn and grow in their careers. By offering training programs, mentorship opportunities, and other professional development resources, you can show your employees that you are invested in their long-term success and are willing to help them reach their full potential.” Tristan Wright, Head Sherpa at Evolve to Grow

One of the most common reasons why employees leave an organisation is because of a lack of growth and development opportunities, with 84% of Australian employees not interested in roles that have no skills development and almost half (47%) refusing to work for an organisation that offers no formal training opportunities.

When employees feel like they’ve hit a ceiling and there’s no room for advancement, they might become stagnant and seek opportunities elsewhere. Investing in the growth and development of your high-performing employees is a win-win situation. When employees are given the chance to develop their skills and take on new responsibilities, they become more engaged and motivated. This, in turn, leads to a more productive and efficient workforce.

Offer personalised training programs and generous personal development funds that allow your employees to enrol in workshops, seminars, and online courses that they will find useful. Consider offering a mentorship program that involves pairing employees with a more experienced mentor to help them learn new skills, gain insights into the industry, and develop their careers.

Training is only half of the picture, though. Provide your high-performing employees with opportunities to move up the ranks, in in the form of promotions, lateral moves, or cross-functional projects. By rewarding their hard work, you’re not only retaining valuable talent, but you’re also motivating other employees.


Know your organisation’s vision, and communicate it well

Creating a clear vision and effectively communicating it to your team is crucial for the success of any organisation. A strong vision provides a sense of direction and purpose, which motivates employees to work towards a common goal.

It’s essential to articulate the vision in a way that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Share stories about the company’s history, successes, and challenges, and connect all these things to your values and mission. Have regular company-wide meetings that provide an opportunity for leaders to share updates on progress towards goals and future plans.

David Powell, life skills mentor, executive coach, and founder of education company The Golden Thread, says a 21st-century workplace requires 21st-century tools to attract and retain the best people.

“People want to work in organisations that have vision and purpose, so create a vision for your organisation and make sure that everyone knows what it is. Then give your people the tools to create their own life vision. If you can demonstrate that working for your organisation and achieving your vision supports the individual’s life vision, you are a 21st-century business and will absolutely attract, motivate and retain the ‘A’ team.” – David Powell, founder of The Golden Thread


Embrace flexibility

In a world that never stops evolving, modern-day workers are craving a new kind of freedom in their work lives: the flexibility to work from anywhere. By offering flexible work arrangements, you not only cater to your employee’s needs, you also create a culture that fuels their success while giving them a healthy work life balance.

Flexible working arrangements look different across organisations and can be tailored to fit the unique preferences of your team. For some companies, this might look like a set number of days in a central office, for others, it might be flexible hours that align with employees’ personal commitments.

The beauty lies in finding that sweet spot where everyone thrives, finding harmony between personal and professional lives. When you embrace flexible work options, you’re unleashing a wave of benefits that impact your entire organisation. Stress lessens, and wellbeing skyrockets.

With the autonomy to work in ways that align with their lifestyles, your employees become happier, more satisfied, and ultimately, more productive. Better retention rates become the norm, safeguarding your top talent from the allure of competitors.

In a cutthroat job market, offering flexible work arrangements sets you apart from the crowd. Candidates searching for their dream job now prioritise flexibility above all else. By demonstrating your commitment to their needs and preferences, you become a magnet for top-tier talent.


Offer challenging and meaningful work to high-performing employees

High-performing employees thrive on a good challenge. They hunger for work that ignites their passion, showcases their skills, and makes a real impact. Gone are the days of mundane routines and uninspiring projects. Instead, you need to assign your team tasks that align with their unique talents, interests, and aspirations.

Give them the freedom to take ownership of their work and solve complex problems. Let them tackle fresh concepts, innovative ventures, and new strategies. By immersing them in work that matters, you empower them to significantly impact the organisation and their professional development.

Meaningful work goes beyond the immediate tasks at hand. Help your employees understand how their contributions fit into the bigger picture, how their efforts shape the company’s success, and how they positively impact the lives of their fellow employees are your customers.

Margit Mansfield, CEO of Keogh Consulting, says to focus on skills, instead of roles.

“Give high-performing colleagues the chance to showcase their skills a variety of different ways—explore secondments and high-impact projects and up the ante on mentoring and coaching. Don’t be constrained by the role.” Margit Mansfield, CEO of Keogh Consulting

Creating an environment that offers challenging and meaningful work requires a culture that values innovation, creativity, and personal growth. It’s important to foster a workplace where individuals are encouraged to think outside the box and share ideas freely.


The importance of investing in a good team

It’s obvious that retaining high-performing employees requires a holistic approach that considers their individual needs. This is the key to building a resilient and successful organisation.

By offering meaningful work that taps into their strengths and passions, making sure they’re aligned with the organisation’s vision, acknowledging their hard work, and providing opportunities to grow and work flexibly, you can create an environment where top talent thrives and chooses to stay. After all, investing in your employees’ potential is an investment in your company’s future.

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