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5 Things to Change in Your Company’s Culture to Keep Your Top Performers

The times are changing. Gone are the days where a lifetime of employment with one company is the norm. Today people chop and change careers and companies, some without a second look back. Remember the business culture from years ago that promoted their enhanced benefits from a lifetime commitment and reinforced loyalty and commitment?

The shift in culture started with the introduction of computerised operation systems. Thus forcing companies to work quickly in hiring new talent to ensure they kept up with competitors. Those at the front end of the future were hunted by competitors and rewarded with different career choices.

Suddenly companies were starting to compare the benefits of themselves and the competition. The rising cost of health care and dental insurance forced some employers to transfer a portion of costs to the employee. It only took a few more years before those companies that offered the best of the best benefits were looking to go down to the mean. So what was left when big companies suddenly all shared the same benefits? - Opportunity for advancement and pay.

Flash-forward to 2017 I hear a lot of people asking, “Why are my best people leaving?”
They can spend days, weeks, even months wondering where they went wrong and trying to fill the position with talent just as good. It got me wondering, why do people spend time figuring out why their top employee left – once they have already gone? Wouldn’t it be better to know how to keep them in the first place?
So without further ado, here are five things to change in your company’s culture to keep your top performers put back into your company’s culture to keep your top performers.

  1. Acknowledge all communicationTop performers don’t sit idle and allow any decisions on processes, projects or people to pass without first communicating their thoughts. Their communication must be able to flow through all channels possible, and mostly importantly it MUST be heard. Acknowledgement that the message has been passed on to relevant management is vital, or you’ll find your top performers go silent. Remember that the communication may come in the form of positive feedback or stinging criticism. If a message is conveyed, understand that it was with the intent of improving, not hindering the business.
  2. Have a chatNothing lasts forever, especially when it comes to keeping an excellent employee without recognition and reinforcement. Most top performers you’ll find are intrinsically motivated meaning they find the motivation internally rather than from external forces such as rewards. They spring out of bed each morning and are thrilled to contribute to the success of a company. People who exhibit this tend not to require constant supervision when given a project or task. To some nothing could be better than having a team full of these people BUT beware even those who need no supervision still need attention. Don’t be shocked to find out top performers leave as they feel unappreciated. Human interaction in the form of phone calls or face to face meetings on a regular basis will increase the happiness of your staff tenfold. Schedule a chat with your top performers before they schedule one with the competition.
  3. Make sure your employees know there is a growth planRemember one of the two benefits that set companies apart nowadays - an opportunity for advancement. It's a huge motivator for top performers as they wish to climb the career ladder. Having an open and honest discussion with your top performers about career goals is expected, are you doing it? Those who are intrinsically motivated want to know that their careers will continue to grow and lead to better pastures and if they can secure that with your company, even better. Challenge your top performers to be even better, put them into training course to be continually updating their skill set. They will thank you for it with loyalty.
  4. Don’t under compensate or benefitA raise can be nothing but a short term positive reinforcement. Initially, the employee’s efforts will drastically increase but a month later it can fall back to what it once was. How then do benefits and compensation help you keep your company’s best performers? If your top performers are in the public eye, presenting speeches, writing blogs, it will only be a matter of time before they are headhunted by competitors. Stop the second benefits companies can offer - pay, get in the way! Know what people in the same industry are earning and match or better yet, beat it; your top performers will have little reason to leave. Not to mention the possible fallout if top performers discovered they are being undercompensated and you are aware of the fact.
  5. Avoid non-value added workThis isn’t just the jobs that some find mind-numbing, this is the stuff that adds absolutely no (or very little) value to the company in completing. Such examples are:
  • Safety instructions every month when the same people are consistently on-site.
  • Wasting time waiting for product to arrive.
  • Constantly changing and updating passwords for sites/programs that require new  passwords every 30, 60, 90 days.
  • Increasing production just for the sake of it, only wastes time, product and labour.

So why are we making people do it?! By punishing those who don’t do this work you’re essentially pushing them out the door. This is not the approach we should take especially not with the all-important top performers.

The real question you must ask yourself is, ‘Are you willing to risk losing your top performers just to avoid implementing some easy changes to your workplace culture?'
Don’t gamble on waiting six months to a year finding someone to step up and fill the gap of your missing top performer. If top performers with 10 or 20 years of experience are walking out your door, it’s time to reassess and acknowledge that times are indeed changing.

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