How to Use Engagement Strategically to Keep Your Top Talent Aboard

They are always out there…the poachers who would love to pluck your top talent from the nest you have provided for them. It is your job to feather that nest in a way that your high performers are not even tempted by other opportunities.

Poaching used to be defined as the illegal hunting of wild animals, usually associated with land rights. In the corporate world, it is the act of snatching an employee from a competitor with the lure of a better offer. It happens and it happens frequently. There’s a lot of buzz about how ethical this practice is in the workplace. We think that, rather than worry about what others are doing, your efforts are better spent making sure that your top talent is happy and challenged where they are.

What we have found in our two decades of work in the employee engagement training field may surprise you. The “feathers” that work to keep your top talent aboard are not higher pay but a compelling organizational culture that suits them. This is how you can compete with those other offers and keep your “A” players happily engaged and on your high performing team.

Here are 3 ways you can guard against the poaching of your critical talent:

1. Take informal “happiness” surveys often
The operative words here are “informal” and “often.” Make sure you check in with your top folks on a regular basis to find out what they are thinking and what they might change. This is simple common sense. Have good conversations about what they are doing on the job that excites them, what other challenges they would welcome, where they want to grow and what is most frustrating for them.

In addition to a proven annual employee engagement survey, ask for their ideas on ways to improve and listen carefully. Show that you value them by enacting the suggestions that make sense for you, for them, and for the company. By the way, this is not a technique that is reserved just for your top talent. It comes directly from employee engagement training and works for all employee levels. It should be a key component of your regular one-on-one meetings with your direct reports.

2. Set up your culture as a positive differentiator
Think of culture as how things truly get done in your organization – the way people think, behave and work. This includes the known and unspoken values and assumptions that drive key business practices and behaviors – especially in leaders and in who they hire, fire and promote. The more aligned your talent is with your culture, the more engaged they will be. The message? Be intentional about creating your organizational culture. Make it unique and genuine so it would be difficult to copy.

Let your company become known for the culture you adopt…like Zappos is known for wowing their customers or Southwest is known for making air travel more fun.

3. Engage them with a compelling vision
When we talk to high performers, they always mention the importance of the what the company is trying to achieve and their strong desire to play an integral part in those plans. We define a company’s vision as “What we hope to become…the business we will be in tomorrow.” A compelling vision paints a clear picture of the future that you hope to create. It defines where you want to go and what it will be like when you get there. The more detailed it is, the more compelling it will be.

To increase employee engagement levels, give shape and direction to the company’s future and be clear about how your high performers specifically fit into those future plans. The goal is to make sure that your top talent will be intrigued and challenged enough to want to see that goal realized. Done right, it can be the glue that keeps them where they are and safe from any poaching attempts.

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LSA’s Employee Engagement Consulting and Survey work has provided critical visibility into: how well our people are holding up under the general economic environment, as well as, the specific challenges that face biotechnology companies in their efforts to discover and develop new medicines; their level of alignment and commitment to XOMA’s Vision and mission critical strategies; how leadership practices and management systems support an environment that engender commitment, and the specific actions that our leaders can take to improve on areas that are important to our people. I highly recommend LSA’s employee engagement solutions.

Chris Wells
Vice President, HR and IT

I have worked with LSA Global at previous companies and welcomed the opportunity to bring them in to support my new organization. We worked closely with LSA to design a solution for our Client Partner Teams and Management Training on both coasts. LSA designed a customized solution for our business and organizational culture. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner that makes an impact.

Laurie Torres
Chief People Officer

In the Next Generation Management Development courses, I was trained with skills and tools that have made me and my team more productive, motivated, and successful at communicating with other departments.

 

Kevin Ashman
Firmware Engineering Supervisor

We recently contacted LSA Global to assist us with a unique training request. We gave LSA a very short deadline and LSA custom designed a training program to meet our exact requirements within the limited time allotted to them. We found their facilitator to be well versed in the subject matter and very credible; the design provided practical and valuable information to our team of managers. I highly recommend LSA Global, particularly in the area of management training.

Julaine K. Souza
Senior Vice President

I’ve been associated with LSA for the last 8 years and have found them to be an extremely professional, well managed full service training organization. Since working with LSA, I’ve participated in a number of solutions ranging from Performance Management to Assertiveness Training – I’ve found that the quality of the resources is superior. They are well prepared and have definitely done a considerable amount of pre-work in order to customize our culture and business into the total learning experience – making it most beneficial for our employees.

Duane Schroeder
Human Resource Manager

PalmSource has found our relationship with LSA extremely beneficial. We worked closely with LSA to customize the right Management Training Program solution to meet our unique business needs. LSA is a quality organization, one that I’d recommend to any company looking for a first class training and consulting partner.

Ken Boehm
Vice President of Human Resources

The LSA Global team was very receptive and flexible to our needs every step of the way. Their staff and facilitator demonstrated attention to detail, responsiveness, and professional courtesy. The participants were thrilled with the outcome and rated the communication skills workshop and the facilitator as ‘Excellent’. I’d highly recommend working with the LSA Global team to meet your professional development needs.

John Mastrorilli
FRDP Leader

Intuit

Thank you to LSA Global for their partnership and support in helping us to design and roll-out our valuable management development training program. I personally have partnered with LSA Global at four of my previous companies. It continues to be a delight working with LSA. We look forward to partnering with them at Blackhawk Networks for future training and consulting needs.

Suzanne Kinner
VP Human Resources

Blackhawk Network

I continue to be impressed by the level of leadership development and management expertise and quality of advice and facilitation that LSA has to offer. What a smart and client-centric group of great people who really know how to help leaders attract, engage, develop and retain top talent.

Tracy Esposito
Director, HR Business Partner

LSA’s approach and ability to bring the best resources to eBay has been a great asset. They really focus on helping us succeed in any way they can and are very flexible in meeting our management and talent needs.

Mike Normant
Learning & Development

ebay

On behalf of Roche and my staff I would like to sincerely thank you for your help with this. The English as a Second Language (ESL) assessment and coaching that you provided for our team was a great success.

Cam Greig
Associate Director

Roche

The Next Generation Management Development courses have helped me communicate more effectively with my peers and teammates. By utilizing effective communication techniques such as clarifying and confirming, and asking open ended questions, I have been able to clarify and understand information in situations where I would have otherwise asked limited questions and made false assumptions.

Robert Breckner
Firmware Engineering Manager

For our go to training outsourcing partner, LSA provides exactly what we want. As always, they deliver outstanding work!

Elizabeth Siebert
Director, Organizational Excellence & Development

Intuit

Here’s a token of my appreciation for ALL your efforts. I’m offering my most sincere appreciation, and it extends to all the folks who made our customized management development programs possible.

Susan Anderson
Workforce Planning Bureau

We value our relationship with LSA Global. We came to LSA because we wanted to improve overall behavioral based interviewing capabilities of our managers to increase the probability of both hiring top talent and future leaders. LSA designed a highly customized solution for our business and culture. We are currently rolling out this solution to our leaders. I would highly recommend LSA Global as a top quality resource.

Rae Phillips
HR Project Manager - Training & Development, PHR

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