By Jim Wong, CPA | March 30, 2016

“Brains, like hearts, go where they are appreciated.” – Robert McNamara

It’s becoming more and more apparent that the labor market for accounting, finance and IT professionals is growing tighter by the quarter. Companies are being forced to offer higher salaries to new talent in order to find—and keep—them long term.

So, what about the top talent you already have working on your team? As the competition continues to intensify, it’s important for accounting, finance and IT managers/leaders to be just as diligent when it comes to retaining their existing team members—and that starts at the point of hiring them, as well.

This isn’t the first time I’ve discussed talent retention. In fact, it’s especially a hot topic lately as accounting, finance and IT leaders begin to manage larger numbers of millennials—who are (albeit inaccurately) thought to be job hoppers.

What can be done to achieve this?

Beyond compensation, it’s important to recognize, engage and support all of your team members on a consistent basis.

That’s why, when I saw a recent article from called 5 Ways to Retaining Your Best Employees I knew that the topic was just as relevant—if not more—now than ever. Below are few helpful tips, along with a few of my own, for retaining top talent.

1. Recognize your high performers.
This is one of the most straightforward ways to keep your talent happy—recognize their hard work and success. This does not need to include additional compensation or cash rewards. You can give the person a verbal shout out in a company-wide meeting or congratulate them as a successful top performer individually. As long as you take the time to recognize your team members—you will make them feel appreciated and vital to the company’s success. It’s no surprise that people like to be recognized for their hard work. So be sure to incorporate a quick congratulations to your team members every now and then.

2. Define success; inspire action. 
If you want your colleagues to be successful, you have to inspire them and show them what success looks like as a team and as an individual player. This usually inspires and motivates hard-working professionals. If your team members know what it is that they’re working towards and what the payoff is, they’ll be more inclined to go above and beyond to get there. Look into innovative ways to reward your top performers and encourage them to keep up their good performances.

3. Get to know your team. 
Making sure your colleagues feel understood and appreciated is another important step in retaining talent. Try making it a point to get to know your colleagues on a personal level. Talk to them and ask them questions about their personal goals, and make sure they know you care about them as a person, not just as a number within your company. When colleagues feel like they have a voice, they’re more likely to feel connected to the company. This also means that it’s important for you to open up as well. If your team members know what your own personal and professional goals are you’ll come across as more approachable and human. This can lead to increased success for all.

4. Invest in Technology. 
I’ve discussed this topic before, and it still continues to be an important way to retain strong employees. It’s important to consider making proper investments in your company in order to keep employees happy. This means replacing outdated systems, computers, software and other technologies. Rather than allow your team members to feel unequipped, and add time to their day with unnecessary struggles, let them know that you care about them by keeping current on various infrastructure upgrades or technology updates.

5. Offer clear paths to growth. 
When you create a visible path to success and let your team members know what is realistically attainable for them within the company, you instill a sense of stability and confidence among them. The article suggests that hiring managers should, “Communicate and create opportunities for growth with your company (which will) extend the time your best employees stay with your company.” As your team members develop, you should provide the support and resources they need to succeed. Investing in your top performers includes supporting their professional goals and allowing them to be achieved.

What are some other ways to keep your top talent? Comment below and let us know!

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