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How to Keep Your Top Talent

By March 30, 2016July 23rd, 2018Human Resources

by Derek Ross

With the 2015 NFL season in the rear view mirror, NFL teams and top executives are already preparing for the upcoming 2016 season. Newly acquired players will be coming in through the draft while the executives will be attempting to retain the star performers that are already on the roster. Those executives know that recognizing and developing their top talent is key to the team’s ongoing success. The same is true for all businesses.

Let’s take a page out of the NFL playbook and consider how to keep your top talent actively engaged in your organization.

Keeping top talent can be broken down into 5 key areas:

Leadership must connect with them.
Employees usually do not leave companies. They leave management. In other words, they leave due to dissatisfaction with management. Having great leadership that listens to employees, is available, provides honest feedback (positive or negative) and encourages professional growth is the first step in retaining top talent. Professional growth can be a myriad of things and should include recognition for jobs well done, training and development, and opportunities for growth within the organization.

 It starts with onboarding.
Yes, onboarding starts on the employees first day. However, the company needs a proper procedure in place before their first day. The first day of work can be stressful for any new employee. Having a structured first day, week and even month will assure the new employee that they are starting on the right path to success. A successful process should include an hourly “Day 1”schedule of meetings with each team member and, most importantly, key personnel in the company. You should also plan for time to complete all paperwork needed for onboarding including benefits, payroll, and workplace setup. Onboarding doesn’t end their first day or week. Having weekly touch-bases throughout their first month will help your new hire engage in asking questions and getting a better understanding of the expectations and duties specific to their new role.

 Give them a sense of purpose.
Employees, like all humans, feel the need to be valued. Being part of something greater and having a part in that success makes the person feel good about the work they do. In most instances, engaging your employees in projects or tasks that interest them will keep them from thinking that “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.” Challenge your top performers with initiatives or special projects that are especially important to the company. This will give them a higher sense of belonging and purpose.

Encourage goal setting.
Developing specific goals is critical in managing an employee’s performance. Using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Action Oriented, Realistic, Time Bound) method is the most popular way to set goals. Both management and employees should be involved in setting goals for the coming year. Then be sure to keep track and follow up on those goals.

Reward them appropriately with benefits and compensation.
Do you know why most NFL players leave their team? One of the top reasons players leave is to better their salary. This can also be true in the business world. That being said, this may not be the main motivating factor for your top talent to seek other companies, but it needs to be addressed just the same. Savvy job seekers usually know what the market price is for their talent and most demand that salary requirement. A hiring manager can easily find the going salaries for any position in their local market. A few free suggested sites are,, or

In addition to a competitive pay rate, having an attractive benefits package will entice those employees to stay with the company. This might include 401K, reasonable medical, dental and vision plans, as well as paid time off. Not always feasible in every organization, another option is to have flexible work schedules. This may include work-from-home options or flexible schedules such as “4-10’s” (4 day workweeks with 10 hours days), or “9-80’s” (9 working days per 2 week period with the 10th day off). And don’t forget the simple option of not having a standard 8-5 work day, but offering flexibility for start and end times, as long as the employee works their 40 hours per week Monday – Friday.

If you have questions about keeping your top talent, or if you’d like help finding your next star performer, give us a call at 855-873-0374 or email us at

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