Don’t Let the Good Ones Get Away: 5 Steps Every Manager Should Take to Retain Star Employees

By Robert Half September 28, 2016 at 8:00pm

In the current hiring environment, there’s risk that your star employees could be wooed away by other firms in need of highly skilled accounting and finance professionals — and willing to compete fiercely for them.

If your star employees do decide to leave, replacing them could take time. Research by our company shows that it can take as long as four weeks to hire for an open staff-level position in accounting and finance — and up to five weeks for a management-level role.

With the costs, time and difficulty involved to replace top performers, would you stop them from walking out the door if you could? Boosting your retention efforts can help. Here are five steps every manager should take to retain star employees:

1. Re-recruit your best workers

Talk with employees about what might enhance their job satisfaction, and remind them of the unique benefits that your company provides. Emphasize what your firm has to offer, whether it’s a great corporate culture, solid financial standing or strong industry reputation.

Try to have these discussions on a regular basis. Also, be prepared to listen to your workers’ needs and concerns, and to act on any requests that you consider reasonable.

2. Offer opportunities for career advancement

Structure positions so star employees can grow their careers without leaving your firm. Offer promotions to workers who have demonstrated they can succeed at the next level. Also, think about succession planning as a way to help valued staff members better visualize their future at your firm. Other opportunities, like job rotation, can also give workers the chance to earn skills and experience that can help them reach the next rung of their career ladder.

3. Help employees understand how their work makes an impact

A survey by our company found that more than half of professionals (53 percent) seek more insight on how their day-to-day duties make a difference to the organization. So, be sure to help your staff understand how their contributions impact the bottom line so that they will feel more engaged. (See this post for tips on how to help your employees make the connection.)

4. Re-evaluate compensation regularly

Money isn’t everything to employees, but it’s an important piece of their overall job satisfaction. Stay current on compensation trends by reviewing industry reports such as Robert Half’s latest Salary Guide for the accounting and finance industry. Even during periods when you can’t raise salaries, there may be other compelling rewards and perks that you can provide, such as spot bonuses at the end of a major project.

Visit our Salary Center to download a free copy of Robert Half’s 2017 Salary Guide.

Get the Guide

5. Promote work-life balance

When possible, give top staff members the option to follow a flexible schedule or telecommute one day a week. It doesn’t cost anything to implement these changes, and employees will appreciate the leeway, as well as the opportunity to achieve better balance.

Provide project support

A final tip: You can't expect star employees to work at or beyond capacity for sustained periods. When workloads rise, project consultants can provide additional support to your core team. These professionals can also be brought in for short-term but critical initiatives that require time and specialized expertise your existing staff may not have.

Need to hire a consultant or project professional? Give us a call today.


This post was originally published in August 2014 and has been updated to reflect more current information.

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