LBMC recently released our fourth annual Business Outlook Survey Report addressing top business goals for 2021 and offering insight into current business trends, challenges, and levels of optimism across the U.S. Our respondents indicated that finding and retaining key employees remains a key goal for 2021. The fact that a company’s greatest asset is people still rings true. When combined, ‘Find great talent’ and ‘Retain great talent’ are the second top business goal at 64%.

We are seeing the talent war continue as it relates to skilled, experienced professionals in most industries, as we are back to pre-pandemic supply/demand levels when it comes to finding certain skill sets. Once companies secure the new talent they seek, it is now more important than ever they have an effective onboarding process, especially given remote arrangements are the norm on some level for most companies. This tends to set the new person up for better success and satisfaction at their new employer.  Also, we experience that leaders who keep their pulse on the culture have a much better chance at retaining their top performers longer-term.

Factors That Help Attract and Retain Key Employees

There are many possibilities to why your key employees would likely stay. Below is a list of some factors cited by valued employees:

  1. Flexible Work Environment and Work Hours – Prior to the pandemic, offering the opportunity to work remotely, telecommute one or several days a week to your employees when possible was becoming a trend and most likely will be more widespread beyond the pandemic. Younger workers especially will appreciate the flexibility and freedom from traffic hassles.
  2. Competitive Pay and Health Care Package – This benefit is more important than you might think. To stay competitive, consider the full value of the offer you provide. It can be worth several thousand dollars to a discerning recruit.
  3. Efficient Hiring Process — Top job candidates with in-demand skills are at the top of other companies’ recruiting lists as well. Make the hiring process as quick and efficient as possible to secure top performers before someone else does.
  4. Softer “People” Strategies – Cultivate a work environment where communication is encouraged and employees, especially younger workers, feel they can make a difference and are a valuable contributor.
  5. Special Perks – Influence both recruits and employees with perks like gym membership discounts, laundry services, the ability to purchase extra “paid time off,” and opportunities to participate in organized community services.
  6. More Frequent Feedback – Employees want to know how they are performing. Instead of annual performance reviews, provide feedback on a more frequent basis.
  7. Work-Life Balance – Companies that have efficient processes and adequate resources are scoring the top performers. Employees don’t want to work overtime just to keep up. Reward employees with extra time off when the occasional tight deadline requires additional hours.
  8. Some other factors include:
    • Exciting and challenging new projects
    • A good supervisor
    • The experience of being part of a team
    • Belief in the company’s mission
    • Recognition of a job well done
    • A family-friendly employer
    • Advances in technology
    • Job security
    • Opportunities for advancement
    • Autonomy

Obviously, it’s the totality of the circumstances – not just one thing – that keeps workers in the fold. Companies that practice some or all of these strategies are reaping benefits, from both a recruiting and retention perspective. Top performers appreciate the flexibility and autonomy it provides. Companies have found it brings loyalty and high performance, as most of these employees feel their employer is showing sensitivity and working with them to ensure balance in their lives. Consider adopting work-life strategies into your company’s culture to help attract and retain your best talent.

Retaining key employees is critical to an employer’s success. By focusing on retention, companies will likely experience increased productivity and ensure consistency in their business.