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Regardless of the time of year, successful organizations constantly are evaluating their employees to ensure two primary objectives: retaining top employees and attracting the best talent to increase market share.

By addressing the following six key areas, your company can minimize the risk of losing top performers and can craft the team you most desire.

Challenge

Make sure your company and employee goals are clearly communicated. Top performers need clear-cut goals and incentives. They need to feel inspired and appreciated. In most situations, candidates are not going to make a career move if they are going to do the same exact tasks. They make a change for new challenges. In general, employers need to do a better job of selling their challenges to candidates, and candidates need to understand the full impact of performing their jobs successfully.

In most cases, if your employees feel uninspired or underappreciated, they begin looking for new employment. Replacing the employees with top performers can be a difficult and lengthy process. Make sure that each position at your company has a clear set of parameters and goals. Communicate those to each employee or prospective employee, then work with them so you can both succeed.

Advancement

Employees need to have clear career paths outlined for them before and after hiring. You cannot minimize the importance of ensuring that proper advancement opportunities are developed for your best performers. Your HR leader should ensure this initiative is being addressed.

Candidates/employees need to grow and reach new heights to justify the investment of their time and energy. Once your senior leadership style and the expected leadership style of the candidate are established and regarded as compatible, the stage is set to work together.

How are you defining your culture? Or, more importantly, how are you improving your culture? Do you empower your people to enhance and improve? Keep the advancement possibilities open and create a work environment where your employees thrive, flourish and stay.

Risk

While every employment opportunity needs to be properly defined, the long-term company goals also need to be clearly expressed and defined.

Many employees feel uncomfortable with change, and a company selling or going through management adjustments represents risk. Some employees might feel intimidated by risk and seek stability, while others are energized by possibilities represented by risk. Past life experiences generally shape one’s perspective as to the level of risk he or she is willing to take.

Is your organization in a position to be acquired in the near future? How will this impact your key personnel? Understanding the importance of an equity situation or employee incentives can be critical.

To feel secure, most employees need to be kept abreast of major company changes, and potential new candidates require it. Business owners who are looking for exceptional vice-president-level talent contact me regularly, yet the company plans to exit in three to five years without plans to offer equity. This situation proposes a significant challenge for the employer. If you plan to make major company changes and want to hire exceptional talent to help you make that transition successful, plan to compensate your employees in a way that makes your unique challenges exciting rather than laden with risk.

Recognition

Lack of recognition is the single largest contributor to job dissatisfaction and employee turnover. In addition, many great contributors do not feel appreciated by the person they report to. Ignoring or placing minimal importance on verbal, written and monetary appreciation is a recipe for high company turnover. Establishing a company recognition plan does not have to be overly complicated or expensive. A simple email expressing appreciation goes a very long way in retaining top talent, and small monetary incentives can take you even further.

Senior executives have a tendency to focus too much on what employees accomplish day to day and lose focus on what employees have contributed long term. Employees know their personal long-term successes, so when they are heavily reprimanded for short-term failures but not recognized for their overall success, they feel unappreciated. A genuinely conveyed “thank you” shows employees at all levels within an organization that you recognize their worth and value their personal contribution to the company.

Recognizing a job well done and doing so in the right manner, at the right time, is vitally important to the health of a company. This should be a vibrant part of the culture in which you lead. Be creative in how you choose to say thanks.

Recognizing a job well done and doing so in the right manner, at the right time, is vitally important to the health of a company. This should be a vibrant part of the culture in which you lead. Be creative in how you choose to say thanks.

Location

When considering a new job opportunity, location is a significant factor. In our world of instant global connections, many companies allow employees to work remotely, but the company does not always clearly express its expectations. Hiring managers need to be clear on expectations as they pertain to working remotely and the realistic amount of time employees will need to spend at the actual company.

Many employees will transfer to new locations for the right opportunity, but employers should consider the logistics of the move from all angles and assist in making the transition smooth.

So much about the “location” of an opportunity boils down to the right timing, but if companies want to acquire the best talent in their fields, they need to be prepared to make location changes as easy as possible on their employees. If an employee move is required, set clear relocation expense coverages, signing bonuses or other incentives that will help make your company more desirable.

Money

Compensation is intentionally placed last on the list of areas to consider to retain and attract your best talent. In most cases, the reason a leader chooses to leave an organization is not because of money but because of an unproductive work environment. The prevailing reasons why employees leave a company are lack of appreciation, unclear expectations, unsatisfactory interpersonal company relationships and no clear company advancement opportunities.

When I carry out the sixth month follow-up with candidates we recently placed, I feel incredibly gratified to see the positive impact their new roles have had in their lives. I have yet to hear a single candidate express regret for not haggling for a higher salary; rather I hear the excitement in their voices about their new challenges, how much they love their new companies’ cultures, how much their bosses care for them and their families or how much growth potential is available. It is always amazing to witness when the right job brings such satisfaction and contentment to a person.

When considering the above ideas during the hiring and retention process, the road to success is smoother on both sides. Finding and retaining the right people is vital to company growth, and finding and holding the right position is fundamental to an employee’s fulfillment.

Tyler Frisbie is president of GRN, McKinney, Texas. He recruits exclusively in the environmental space and can be reached at tfrisbie@grnmckinney.com or at 214-842-6891.