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The key to retaining top performers in a changeable market
Hiring top talent is the best way to navigate the current uncertainty, as the world recovers from Covid-related economic turbulence. Productivity levels continue to fluctuate in a changeable market, and top talent has never been more crucial in helping to mitigate the downturn. However, after acquiring top talent, the next challenge is to ensure that you retain your top performers, because their retention will be key to your survival.
We spoke to sector experts across our four brands for their views and advice on how to retain top talent in a changeable market.
The experts’ view:
“The tricky thing about employee motivation is that it is as wide and variable as the individuals themselves. Ultimately, the job of the manager is to try and understand the employee and be as empathetic as possible. Hopefully, after some time working together they will be well versed in what works and what doesn’t. The most important thing is to treat everyone as an individual and try to divide your time equally.”
Senior Partner, Page Executive
Communicate: manager to employee
“Over communication at this time is key, as the world comes to terms with the aftershocks of the economic earthquake caused by Covid. As a manager, you should be communicating your plans with your employees. Don’t assume they know, and good news and wins should be communicated regularly. An employee will think twice about leaving a good manager. Have your managers been keeping in touch with their employees? Have they been having regular catch ups since they were back, with a focus on how the employees are coping and not just on targets or KPIs? A good manager will also be agreeing a set of targets that are realistic and achievable in the current climate.
Flexible patterns of work
“Will you be embracing more flexible patterns of work from now on? An employee who has experienced working with more flexibility in the crisis will be resistant to going back to old ways of working, especially if it is proven that those flexible ways work well. In a world where many commentators are talking about a long-term shift to working remotely, employees will be drawn to work for those companies that are flexible and have invested in the right technology. I have seen a lot of employers, especially in new and interesting industries, offering much more flexibility around working patterns, which will be a real temptation for top performers working inside an inflexible environment.”
Partner, Page Executive
“Organisations need to maintain a supportive working culture. It is essential to maintain as much of a community as possible, so that employees do not feel too isolated. Ensure that staff are not overwhelmed by their workloads. There have been examples where businesses have imposed compulsory emails off hours, or mandatory lunch breaks to make sure that employees are prioritising their mental wellbeing and are not feeling like they have to be accessible all the time.
Learning and development
“As the economy threw new challenges at businesses, the employees who felt the most engaged in the last six months were the ones who felt that, not only were they supported by their organisations, but also those who felt that they were learning new skills or approaches. Line managers that saw opportunities to invest in staff skill sets, or give broader remits, saw a better level of engagement, a more positive attitude, and more cross-team collaboration.”
Operating Director, Corporate Services and Finance, Michael Page
A sense of purpose, being empowered and valued
“Leaders must promote a sense of purpose and the feeling of belonging to something greater. Employees must feel empowered to deliver. Emphasising outputs and delivery creates accountability, and just as important is feeling valued. Top performers have proven that they can execute tasks to a high standard and their consistent excellence should not be taken for granted. A continued conversation around development areas, and giving sight of business performance, will give them a clear understanding of where their efforts are going.
Business Manager, Michael Page Digital
Working as a team
“With staff split between working from home and working in the office, the ability to collaborate as a team and keeping your top-performers involved is more important than ever. Extra responsibilities can help them remain engaged, but be sure to lighten the load and spread some work out if they begin to feel overwhelmed. Running team calls regularly and having small challenges throughout the week, helps keep everyone involved and working together within a positive team dynamic. Recognition for a job well done and any extra incentives will help them to feel much more valued and supported.”
Operating Director, Page Personnel Finance
“Firms are reaping the rewards from flexible and agile leaders who are able to communicate clearly, and act decisively. Leaders that are able to learn quickly, adapt to hourly and daily changes, and make decisions quickly, will succeed. Finding good sources of real, accurate data can be invaluable to ensure that leaders and their teams keep up-to-date with macro-economics and industry changes.”
Business Development Director, SoW
It is clear from our team of experts that keeping top quality employees engaged through a show of empathy, clear communication, monitoring wellbeing, as well as strong leadership, empowerment, and working as a team leads to far better performance. Not only that, but staff turnover can be greatly reduced and productivity levels sustained in a time of uncertainty. Across many sectors, high performers can be difficult to source, but we can help with our vast network and bespoke market insights.