A lot of effort goes into hiring the best possible talent for your organization, but how much do you invest in retaining that talent?
Retaining key talent and promoting a healthy work environment are the key to long term success for any business. However, keeping top talent isn't easy.
We should know, as hiring and keeping technical staff in an IT services and support company is very challenging, especially in hot markets such as Washington DC.
Below are some of the ideas we use to help keep our top talent from looking elsewhere:
1. Create Avenues for Internal Growth
Cross skill-set training, internal promotions, tuition aid for continued education, opportunities to attend conferences, etc. is one of the ways we encourage professional development. Remember to identify your more passive team players and offer them training guidance - this helps encourage those who may be stars-in-the-making.
2. Define a Growth Path for Top Talent
Top talent are already seasoned and accomplished at what they do, so engaging them is a tough challenge. Working with your top talent to strengthen their skill set; passing on responsibility and ownership to them, and utilizing them as mentors, can all help create a unique sense of value. Another idea we found to be helpful is to let top talent pursue their pet project, a great way of encouraging and appreciating their initiatives.
3. Cultivate a Healthy Work Environment
Managers often come up with areas where the team can improve, and forget to LISTEN to their employee's concerns, whether it is a management style issue, change in role request or a simple issue an employee is facing. We've created multiple avenues for employees to communicate without hesitation, including an anonymous 'byte box" where employees can leave comments. We also coach our management team on how to convey negative feedback, ensuring that they also provide some positive reinforcement and clear concise steps on how to improve. It's often how the message was relayed then the message itself!
4. Recognition Comes in Many Forms
Recognition does not always need to be in the form of salary raises. A job title promotion is a great morale booster, along with company-wide recognition and awards. These all create a positive environment and work as a great performance booster. We offer quarterly rewards and recognition, which we find to be a a help in retaining talent and encouraging employees to maintain top performance.
4. Hire Right the First Time
Retention will be much easier if you hire the best fit for your organization in the first place. Hiring needs to focus not just on the job profile, but also on the company culture, values and personality traits of existing team members. We do our best to set clear expectations upfront, in order to help avoid miss-matched expectations down the road, which could end up with a negative outcome for both parties.
5. Set the Stage for Success
Here are some additional recommendations for creating an attractive work environment and setting the right type of partnership with your employees:
- Work life balance: Providing an environment that values work life balance is key to a successful and long-term relationship.
- Management Style: Minimal monitoring encourages responsible actions and ownership; delegating work helps your team own their work and take pride in their work. Being open to suggestions and a collaborative work style breaks the stress and helps create a healthy work environment.
- Trust: Trust your employees - great talent is scarce! Trust helps nurture employer-employee relationship and often helps employees go above and beyond in their contributions.
- Culture: Setting the right culture and standards is the basics for having a strong organizational structure. Some of the ways this can be achieved are clearly defining ethical limits, zero tolerance on non-performance, etc.
- Team Building: Having fun after hours is another great way to foster a positive workplace. At Ntiva, we host quarterly events, including "paint nite" - see results in the picture above!
At Ntiva, our CEO always emphasizes that "Ntiva exists to grow people." This is our company "why" - helping people grow personally and professionally. Our goal is to create a team of world-class technical experts, who in turn help our clients grow through the effective use of their business technology. This is an important part of the Ntiva culture, and helps keep us focused on creating a positive employee environment.
p.s. You can read more about the importance of having a business "why" in one of our latest "CEO Perspective" blogs here.