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Resolve to Retain Your Top Performers in 2013

January 18, 2013

By: Carletta Clyatt

Ah the New Year… time to make those resolutions. Most people are setting goals to get in shape, shed a few pounds, maybe de-clutter. But considering the high cost of employee turnover, companies will want to make sure the weight they lose or the “clutter” they excise is not in the form of skilled personnel. Given that one in three employees plan to look for a new job in the next year, getting a strong retention strategy in shape may be the best New Year’s resolution you can make for your business.

According to a recent survey by 34% of employees are considering a job search within the year and 18% within the next three months. So what can be done to retain your top performers in 2013? Of course the only logical plan is to lock them in the building 24/7 with no phone or outside internet access. That should improve productivity, too!

Ok, that’s not actually logical (or legal), but it might feel like the right option when you picture your perfectly trained, best employee in the hands of a competitor. So before resorting to a federal offense like kidnapping (or really any other federal offense), let’s look at the facts. The first step to a retention plan is to consider why people are on the hunt in the first place.

The top reason cited? Big shock: Money. Money is also one of the top reasons most people are willing to stay in a job.

Most companies don’t have a huge pool of cash to offer to people just in case they may be considering leaving. Still, you might think about giving slightly higher raises to your shining stars, or allowing people to compete for performance-based incentives, meaning they earn more if they contribute to profitability. Being able to perceive a chance of a financial increase might be enough to get many to stay put.

Reason number two: Commute.

Here’s what you do: You get a list of the zip codes of your most successful employees and relocate your entire company based on the highest productivity numbers! Yeah… There really isn’t much that can be done about location or commute, but there are some pretty reasonable alternatives. Thanks to the magic of technology, telecommuting is a possibility in a lot of jobs. For jobs where working from home isn’t an option, contemplate offering flextime or nontraditional schedules that will have people on the roads during lower traffic times of the day. Your staff would be quite grateful to have (or be able to work for) one of these options. And gratitude breeds loyalty.

Number three: Growth opportunities

Finally something with an easy solution. Even if a company doesn’t have much in the way of middle or upper management positions, there are always new responsibilities, training and skills available for an eager worker. A lateral move might be enough to satisfy someone who is looking for diversity. Watch for cross-training interest and opportunities and capitalize on them. In turn, you’ll have a better trained staff, more coverage availability and an idea of potential future managers.

The last big reason: The amount of work

About those added responsibilities… it’s a good idea to check if people are up for them before piling them on. It’s difficult to control productivity, and busier is generally better for the bottom line. Do take care, though, that the work is distributed fairly, and check that you have enough help to get through the average busy day without having to frequently resort to overtime… Maybe it’s time to hire.

Which leads to the good news! Hey, did you hear that 34% of employees surveyed are considering a job search within the year. Now’s your chance to scoop up your competitors’ perfectly trained, best employee. After all, you have a great retention strategy in place!

Carletta Clyatt

Carletta Clyatt, a popular seminar speaker, is the SVP at The Omnia Group. She offers clients advice on how to manage more effectively and gain insight into employee strengths, weaknesses and behaviors. For more information about employee behavioral assessments, call Carletta at 813-280-3026 or email:

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