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Dear Jackie, I have a staff retention problem...

Dear Jackie,

I have been running my business for four years. We are already a medium size company and motivation has been good up until this point.However, I’m finding it harder and harder to keep my ‘rising stars’. I know who they are, and I try all the usual methods to keep them engaged. Without them, I know sales will suffer – they are really important to the future of my company. I was hoping you would be able to offer me a few tips to give me fresh ideas?


Troubled in Human Resources

Dear Troubled in Human Resources,

One of the most difficult jobs for managers and Human Resources teams is to keep top talent. So you’re not alone. In fact, you’re ahead of the game, because you recognize just how important it is to keep your rising stars.

The starting point I believe is to look at your whole company culture. Is your company a welcoming and friendly place to come to every day? Do you show staff how much you appreciate their efforts? Do you reward those that go the extra mile?

You say that you ‘try all the usual methods to keep them engaged’. I presume you mean you offer employee benefits, and have some sort of rewards programme. What does this consist of?

It’s always better to offer experiences than material gifts. Will your star remember the bottle of wine he received last year? Or will he remember more the motor racing experience he won? Which will he talk about at the water cooler with his colleagues?

Are your employee rewards tailored to the recipient? For example, if your rising star loves Adele, would your rewards program enable her to win tickets to Adele’s latest concert? If she has always wanted to visit the Caribbean, would your rewards program enable her to build a bank of prizes that she can cash in at some point for her dream holiday?

The best reward systems provide valuable performance data to management so you can keep an eye on who is being rewarded, how often, for what and by whom. This saves Human Resources teams hours of work.

You also need to ensure that your rock stars of the future feel challenged, and are able to learn and grow within your company. This means investing in their training, and charting a career path with them. Again, this is not new…the difference needs to be the level of commitment you are willing to put in.

Finally, a recent article by Forbes reaffirmed the notion that employees – millennials in particular – stay at companies where they feel they are doing something worthwhile. So don’t underestimate the value of your company’s corporate social responsibility initiatives, and make sure your rising stars know about them. Consider taking them to the local charity that your team recently did a fundraiser for, and enable them to volunteer on company time.

To sum up, look at your whole company culture if you want to keep your star performers – benefits, rewards, training and development, as well as the inspiring contribution that your company and employees can make to society.

I hope these tips help - let me know how it goes and do feel free to get in touch for further ideas…

Best wishes,


What are your top tips to retain talent?

Do you use a rewards portal that lets you monitor rewards giving?

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