What to do when attractive compensation fails to retain talent

Apart from attracting top talent, retaining high quality employees is a challenge for organizations – an area where even fat paychecks often fail to do the trick. Many a time, by the time organizations realize they must give star performers a salary raise, it’s too late and they have one foot out the door. Empirically, good employees are companies’ appreciating assets, producing more value as they mature. The cost of losing a top performer can range from 1.5 to 2X the employee’s annual salary. How then can companies intervene before it’s too late to prevent voluntary attrition?

Here are four ways to retain your talent when attractive compensation fails to excite them:

#1 Customize career growth path: Top notch employees are interested in learning new skills and growing with the organization. If they don’t get the opportunity to contribute meaningfully every day, they tend to lose excitement and start looking elsewhere.  As an organization, understand what matters more to which employee – who is looking for re-skilling, up-skilling or even cross-skilling as a way to explore other aspects of business. Then look for ways you can provide training and development programs to foster career progression.

#2 Get real feedback: Formal annual or quarterly reviews are no longer effective when it comes to curtailing turnover. Organizations must look at innovative ways where employees feel safe and encouraged to provide honest feedback. One-on-one socializing by team leads, regular video calls (if employees are located remotely), and out-of-office meet-ups, can provide a setting where employees open up about what they want to accomplish but are unable to. HCL Technologies leverages a 360-degree feedback mechanism to encourage organization-wide transparency. Nowadays, monitoring employees’ social media conversations can serve as a good feedback indicator – unhappy employees often vent on social platforms.      

#3 Personalize employee experience: Not all employees want the same perks. Depending on the phase of personal life they are in, employee priorities vary. If organizations do not recognize and align with employee’s changing priorities, they risk losing talent. For instance, new and working mothers cherish flexible hours, younger unmarried professionals might appreciate paid personal travel, while middle-aged or older employees may prefer attractive retirement or health insurance plans.

#4 Create ownership mentality: Motivated employees don’t shy away from accountability; rather a sense of ownership excites them. Innovative companies are finding ways to give such employees greater stake in business and make them accountable for performance through profit sharing programs. More than the money, these programs work well because they align with an inherent quality of top performers – to be in charge of something, shape it, and be responsible for its success. Profit sharing can range from 1 to 2% of an employee’s annual salary at low or mid- career levels and can go up to 40 to 50% for senior employees.   

Strong retention stems from a company’s culture

According to Randstad’s 2017 Salary Guide, there are currently 5.5 million job openings and only 1.4 unemployed people per job opening, making retention a top priority.  It’s clear that the roots of retention and employee engagement go beyond compensation. They lie in the way a company treats its employees, cares for their work-life balance, and overall personal growth. At a time when employee churn can significantly impact a company’s bottom-line, taking a holistic approach is the answer to keeping high-performers happy.

Sources:
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-much-does-employee-turnover-really-cost_us_587fbaf9e4b0474ad4874fb7
https://www.hcltech.com/news/corporate/transparency-pays-360-degree-reviews

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