Fear of Losing Top Talent Becoming Prevalent

Should you be worried about losing your best workers? According to our survey, the majority of people are, at least a little bit. But that may be a natural concern. “I think companies should always be concerned about losing their top performers no matter what the economy is like,” says Barbara Kurka, senior vice president of human resources at Katz Media Group, Inc. Even if business is bad, things will turn around eventually. “At some point employers are going to have to hire. And they’re going to go after your best people.”

So how can you keep your employees happy, and hopefully loyal to you and your business?

Communicate. Have monthly meetings and go over business goals. Don’t only include salespeople in your discussions about moving the company forward. Keep all employees, even ones that aren’t your most important performers, involved. Recognize everyone, from the top to the bottom of the totem pole.

Find out what they want. “Especially in a small business, you probably have a better opportunity to know what’s going to be a good perk for your employees than a larger company,” says Kurka. Everyone appreciates a reward for a job done well, but the type of rewards you give should depend on your company culture and what your employees are comfortable with. One employee might appreciate a gift certificate for dinner at a nice restaurant and a night of babysitting, while another might value being sent to a conference as a company representative or asked to speak at an event. Whereas one member of staff would appreciate having their accomplishments recognized in a company-wide email, another might prefer a personal email from you.

Get everyone involved. Kurka suggests celebrating company anniversaries with, depending on your budget, small parties or gifts. Take your staff out to lunch or order in pizza. If you’d rather your rewards be more productive, your company can spend a day volunteering for a charity. A kudos wall – where your staff can leave positive feedback for each other – is a great way to emphasize community spirit.

Everyone knows that times are tough at the moment. While most employees will be sympathetic if you’re unable to use money as a reward, be wary of giving promotions without a raise behind it. Your staff might be honored at first, but doing more work and not getting paid for it will lead to resentment down the line. At some point, money is going to matter.