How to Retain Top Talent

Dan Breault


Leaders are often so focused on finding great talent that they forget that once they make a great hire, they need to keep them. This requires starting out on the right foot and staying there.

Top talent does not act (or want) the same things as a mediocre hire. Someone who is talented wants to do their job. This is actually what organizations want – to hire someone who is intent on succeeding in their role. This is also where managers get in trouble – they end up micromanaging to make sure everything is done the way they would do it. This can demotivate the hire, who was brought on to free up the manager to do other important tasks and because they bring new and potentially better skills to the business.

When a manager hires someone, the intention is for that manager to have more time to focus on growing the business. Here is an easy 3-step solution to help this happen:

  1. Create an outcome-based job description. An effective job description outlines the outcomes required for success. For example, increase net agent count by 20%. This means that the job description will be short and succinct – not a laundry list of activities. Focus on the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will move the needle in your organization. 

  2. Have a mutual expectations conversation. Use the outcomes from the job description to have a conversation about expectations. This sets up the relationship encourages honest and productive communication, and establishes mutual accountability upfront.

  3. Translate key outcomes to performance metrics. Identify what has to happen in each quarter for them to get a positive performance review. This ensures that by the end of the year, there is a written assessment of how they did, eliminating any surprises. 

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These are the key steps in setting up the initial relationship for success, but what about the people who are already in the organization? What can leaders do to ensure that they are happy? Here are a few key tips to help retain top talent in this current market:

  1. Identify a clear growth path. If they succeed in their current role, what options are available for growth? Show them what they need to do to achieve the next higher level position. 

  2. Promote from within. Create a succession plan by looking at your 1-year and 3-year plans. What roles are going to be required and who do you have that could be promoted. Groom these individuals for the future.

  3. Analyze your compensation and benefits. Use online resources to regularly assess each role’s compensation. If you are hiring someone into a job that already exists in the organization, review the compensation. Is it up to market standards or are adjustments required? Also, what benefits are offered to employees? Remember, benefits are not always concrete like health insurance. Think of soft benefits that are attractive to employees such as a gym, extra time off, a fun work environment, educational opportunities, etc. 

  4. Use core values or a mission statement to make key decisions. If the company does not have a set of core values, define what is important in terms of company culture and share this with the entire organization. 

One of the keys to keeping the best talent is to challenge and reward them. Create an environment that supports the growth of key people. Ask what is important to them and help them achieve it.

Need help with hiring and/or retaining talent? Click here to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation session with the T3 Talent team.