6 Ways Of Identifying And Retaining Top Employees

As companies compete for top talent, employee retention has become a critical issue. The competition to find and retaining top employees has been even more aggravated as workplaces have become hybrid and work together remotely. This expansion into a virtual work configuration has made obsolete many of the former practices of identifying and nurturing talent. But there is a lot of new data available to help companies deal with issues related to their workforce and its growing needs.

Following are the six ways of identifying and retaining top employees as well as improve the overall retention rates:

Retention starts with recruiting: Retention top employees starts even before the employee is hired. It starts from the application process to screening applications and choosing who to interview. It starts with identifying which aspects of strategy and culture the company needs to accentuate then looking for those aspects in your desired candidate. The retention in a company is of increasing returns model. The longer an employee will stay at a firm the more productive he or she will become over time. The companies have to look at it as a long run thing and make sure that each employee is engaged with and made to feel a part of the company’s success.

Identifying candidates who will stick around: A company needs to identify the candidates who are going to stay the course. There are some key indicators in the resume of such candidates like their longevity at their previous jobs. The Human Resources will have to look beyond what is written in the candidates resume and see whether the candidate has stayed at their previous organizations through thick and thin, whether or not they play any team sports or volunteer for activities outside of work. This will show that they are invested in a cause, know how to work in teams and they stick with things they really care about.

You might also be interested to read: Voluntary Turnover; Causes And How To Prevent Them

Promote from within and provide continuing education: Promoting from within provides the employees with a clear path to greater compensation and greater responsibility. It makes the employees feel they are a part of the company’s success. Employee development and education should be a part of a company’s retention policy. Whether it is by corporate training to acquire new skills or technology or whether it is by reimbursement from outside courses, an increase in employee skill level and education makes them feel valued and part of the organization. 

Learning should be integrated at every task or project and employees should be encouraged to learn by doing. A focus on the education through high skills training or professional development programs to hone soft skills or continuing education is seen by the employees as an investment in their worth and a great incentive to stay at the company. Learning should be the core focus of any firm. It should not be a one off activity. 

Benefits and perks: Benefits and perks play a massive role in keeping your top employees happy and engaged at the firm. But it has to be realized that benefits are not limited to health cover and paid sick leave. Stock options and financial rewards for employees who exceed performance goals is a great idea for rewarding and acknowledging good work. Flexible work schedules, option to work remotely and generous paid leaves go a long way in making employees feel valued at a firm.

If employees are not offered paid leaves or are forced to return to work because they cannot afford unpaid leaves, the employees will be distracted and resentful so it is always advisable to provide enough paid leaves. According to research by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), flexible working arrangements are ranked fourth among top benefits for retaining talent after health insurance, bonuses and paid time off.

Open communication: Creating an atmosphere of open communication among employees and management can help build a sense of community and lead to better retention rates. Top-down communication can quickly become messy so focusing on direct one to one communication is a better idea. And providing digital spaces like employee communities to allow workers to come together and solve problems without the management. Organizing regular meetings where employees can give their ideas and inputs, as well as open door policies which encourage employees to talk frankly with their managers about any issues they might be having makes the employees feel valued and creates a better connection between the employees and management. 

Using data and artificial intelligence in retaining top employees: Organizations have a lot of employee data available to them. By using that data, they can find out who among their top employees is most likely to leave and then take steps to prevent that. An employee’s exit may seem obvious at first but by using artificial intelligence and advanced analytics, company’s can help find out the underlying reasons for the exit that might not be as obvious. Looking more closely at the data can help uncover patterns in an employee’s departure.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning can help identify issues before they lead to attrition and the company can take steps to correct those issues in time. For example, commute time is not as big a factor in employee engagement and happiness as is distance to family. If there is over an hour of commute on each side but the employee’s family is at home then he or she is less dissatisfied with the commute, it is the distance from family that is more bothersome. So the company can allow more flex time and remote work opportunities to correct the problem.

If a company waits until the exit interview to find out why a top employee has decided to move on, they have missed a great opportunity not just to keep a highly valuable member of the team but to identify and fix issues before more employees leave. HR teams and department managers should do all they can to retain their best employees. These employees understand what the company is all about, they know how to get things done and most importantly they know each other.


  • A Data-Driven Approach to Identifying — and Retaining — Top Employees | Harvard Business Review | Kon Leong | May 14, 2021
  • Employee retention: 8 strategies for retaining top talent | CIO | Sharon Florentine | February 28, 2019

You might also be interested to read:

Comments are closed.