Motivating Top Talent During Difficult Times

To retain your top talent it is absolutely critical to ensure they are motivated. In difficult times this is often not at the top of the list of the things the hiring manager or CEO is looking to accomplish. Most people are working long hours and doing the job of two people, stress is at an all time high, fear of layoffs is a reality, salaries are frozen, pay cuts have been implemented and forget about any bonus. For many companies this is their current culture.

So how do you motivate your top talent to reach the company's goals?

How do you keep them from contacting recruiters?

How do you keep them passionate about coming to work?

How do keep them engaged day after day?

The answer to all of these is “culture.” Even in difficult times top talent, by definition, will always rise to the occasion. They will always strive to be the best. If they don't, they aren't top talent. However, even top talent can burn out, get frustrated, not see the light at the end of the tunnel or wonder if they are really contributing.

It is the role of all CEOs and hiring managers to ensure these things don't happen. As an executive recruiter I have recruited thousands of candidates over the last 30 years. There seems to be a consistent theme what great companies do in difficult times to hold on to and even attract top talent.

The following are four areas companies must focus on to ensure they keep their top talent motivated.

1) Companies must have a performance based culture. Even in difficult times there must be clearly defined goals for the company. These goals must cascade down to your top talent. They must have quantifiable objectives that motivate them, so when reached, they feel a sense of accomplishment.

2) Dysfunctional Culture. Probably the biggest reason top talent gets nervous and begins to think outside your company. Do you know your company's culture? Can you define it? Will your executive staff define it the same way? Will the in-the-trench worker bees define it the same way? If not, this is the time to begin working on it.

3) Non-monetary rewards and recognition. The least expensive and least used method to retain top talent. So many times we've heard from candidates,”No matter how much I contributed, how many times I went above and beyond what was expected, or all the times I missed my kids activities, it always seemed just part of the job. Never even a thanks, appreciate the effort, even a small pat on the back.” Consider building a culture of rewards and recognition that makes your top talent feel appreciated. Top talent does not want to be taken for granted.

4) Consistent feedback. Similar to the above but more formal. This includes regular and structured 1-on-1 feedback sessions. Not passing in the hallway. Actually sitting down and focusing on them. Giving them feedback, encouraging them, listening to what their needs are (even if you can't meet them, just listening), taking an interest in their career and building a shared bond.

Consider these four things as a way to motivate your top talent. There are others and we encourage you to consider anything that will help you attract, hire and retain your top talent.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You’re NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE  Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard



About the Author

Brad Remillard is a founding Partner of IMPACT Hiring Solutions, co-author of "You're NOT the Person I Hired", and "This is NOT the Position I Accepted". Brad is an award-winning international speaker, retained executive recruiter, and expert on hiring and retaining top talent, and executive job search.

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