Take Care of Your Top Employees

by Robert Driscoll on January 21, 2010

The marketplace in 2008 and 2009 was unlike any other in the past 70 years.  Businesses saw their top line revenue drop overnight.  Access to capital dried up and continues to be difficult to get.  While organizations had to trim their workforce, they continued to “protect” their top talent.  I put the word protect in quotes because while businesses kept their top employees, they expected them to do more with less.  While the top employees cannot wait for the market to get back to “normal”, they are still hungry for opportunities, but still need a break from overwork and pressure.

Everyone is working hard to survive, but businesses need to be careful not to put too much pressure and strain on their top employees because when the economy recovers and companies start hiring again, if businesses aren’t careful, they will lose their top talent as they accept offers from competitors.  A company’s top talents are important assets and will help the company achieve its short-term goals during this recovery period, but just as important, during the growth period after this recession.

Most employees today are burned out as they’ve taken on more work, stress and responsibility.  Because of this, employees’ loyalties to their companies have diminished as they are looking, more now than ever, to take care of their concerns.

In a recent report by Gartner, senior executives identified retention of top talent as a key concern.  In a 4Q09 survey done by Gartner, they asked senior executives to identify their top 5 concerns for 2010, and attracting and retaining top talent as number four on their list.

In the report conducted by Gartner, they made the following recommendations for companies:

–          Clearly define your “top talent” – profiles, behaviors and skills

–          Assess the state of the top talent from (2) perspectives:

  • Identify business areas where the top talent is sufficient to achieve short-term plans for recovery and return to growth.  At the same time, identify talent gaps or misalignment with business plans.
  • Assess the attitudes, expectations and “climate” of your top employees.  Determine positive and negative attitudes, people and business functions at risk, and the nature of the risk.

–          Address your findings head-on and discuss these issues with your top talent.  Design incentive and reward programs to address any of these issues.

–          Conduct periodic assessments and adjustments to actions until your top employees and risk return to normal levels.

Whether you are a manager or senior executive in a large company or an owner of a small business, remember to take care of your top employees.  If you don’t, your employees will take care of their concerns which may not include you or your company.

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