Often we are so focused on finding great talent that we forget that once we make a great hire then we want to keep them. This requires starting out on the right foot and staying there.

One of the biggest learning lessons for me was the realization that top talent does not act (or want the same things) as a mediocre hire. What do you think people who are great at what they do have in common? I have discovered that these individuals are often driven, motivated, goal-focused, ambitious and want to be around other’s that are similar. They want a challenge and a clear path to success.

As a manager, what I learned about hiring the best people is they will take their job away from you. What I mean is if you hire someone who is talented, they want to do their job and if you keep doing it they will eventually take it from you. This is actually what you want, to hire someone who is intent on succeeding in their role. This is also where managers get in trouble - especially those (like me) who tend to be control freaks. We want to hang on and make sure they do it right or do it the way we would do it. I have learned that not only does this demotivate my hire it also thwarts my best intentions. You hired them because they are better than you at the job - or at least they should be.

For example, let’s say you hire someone to recruit for your organization what good does it do if you micro-manage that person or continue to do the job? The intention is for you to be free to focus on growing the business. You are probably thinking, “Well, how will I know if they are doing the job if I am not watching them or telling them what to do?” I have an easy 3-step solution. Following are the key steps:

  1. Create an outcome-based job description. An effective job description outlines the outcomes required for success. For example, increase net agent count by 20%. This means that the job description will be short and succinct - not a laundry list of activities. Focus on the key performance indicators (KPI’s) that will move the needle in your organization.
  2. Have a mutual expectations conversation. Use the outcomes from the job description to have a conversation about what you expect. Share how they will win and lose with you and then let them share how you will win and lose with them. This sets up the relationship, to be honest, and encourage productive communication. And it establishes mutual accountability upfront.
  3. Translate key outcomes to performance metrics. Identify what has to happen in each quarter for them to get a positive performance review. If you don’t have a performance review system set up - it is important that you set one up. It doesn’t have to be complicated - use the outcome- based job description translate it into quarterly objectives and then meet with your employe each quarter to let them know how they are doing. This ensures that by the end of the year, you can provide a written assessment of how they did. This eliminates any surprises and it will quickly help you identify if someone isn’t doing the job so that you can help them adjust behavior or exit the organization.

These are the key steps in setting up the initial relationship for success, but what about the people that are already in your organization? What do you need to do to ensure that they are happy?

One of the first things I recommend is doing a quick organizational assessment. Write down each employee and rate them on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being terrible and 10 being a 10+. The reason to do this first is if you have people that shouldn’t be in the organization then you want to create a plan to top-grade. Basically, this means ensuring they have an outcome-based job description, giving them feedback and putting them on performance improvement plans (PIP’s) if they are not performing.

Once you identify who in the organization is not performing you can begin to search for new talent in key roles and then focus your time, energy and resources on the true talent you have and want to keep, in the organization.

Remember, in the current economy, unemployment is low and you have a workforce that is more fluid than in previous years. What I mean is that it used to be very uncommon for people to change jobs as they were concerned about their resumes.

These days, it is very common for people to change jobs every two years. Here are a few key tips to help you retain your key talent in this current market:

  1. Identify a clear growth path. If they succeed in their current role, what options are available to grow. Show them what they need to achieve the next higher level position.
  2. Promote from within. Create a succession plan by looking at your 1-year and 3-year plans. What roles are going to be required and who do you have that could be promoted. Groom these individuals for the future.
  3. Analyze your compensation and benefits. Use online resources to regularly assess the compensation per role. If you are hiring someone into a job that already exists in the organization, review the compensation then. Is it up to market standards or are adjustments required? Also, what benefits do you offer employees? Remember, benefits are not always concrete like health insurance. Think of soft benefits that are attractive to employees such as a gym, extra time off, a fun work environment, educational opportunities, etc.
  4. Use core values to make decisions. Use your core values or mission statement to make key decisions. If you don’t have a set of core values define what is important in terms of company culture and share the message with the entire organization.

As you can see, one of the keys to keeping the best talent is to challenge and reward them. Create an environment that supports the growth of your key people. Ask them what is important to them and help them achieve it.

If you would like my help to refine your outcome-based job description or to help with an organizational assessment, please schedule a free 30-minute session with me at https://calendly.com/talentattractionexperts.