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Three Tips for Retaining Your Top Employees

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mikehabermanI had the good fortune to hear a luncheon talk by an HR pro by the name of Jack Smalley. Jack, who is with Express Employment Professionals, was the guest speaker at the SHRM- Atlanta year end luncheon. The basic theme of his talk was organizational change, theme of his talk was organizational change, but wrapped up in that presentation were three tips for retaining your top employees.

His first tip dealt with communication. Through the use of a couple stories Jack emphasized that communication is critical to keeping your good employees, particularly in times of stress. His story dealt with a corporate sale where the selling company kept employees in the dark.

As it became apparent that something was going on, such as due diligence visitors, the key employees started leaving. They were able to get jobs so rather than dealing with the uncertainty of the sale they opted to go to a situation where they at least had some input on what was happening. By the time the sale was announced a large percentage of the better employees had jumped ship.

The lesson in this is that you cannot communicate too much about what is going on. Employees do not like “mushroom management.” This advice is as relevant today as it has ever been, perhaps even more so. It is critical that you retain your best and brightest and to do that they have to have the “sunshine” of communication.

A second tip that I feel had some relevance to retain you best was one that dealt with recognition. Jack advised the group to make sure you are asking your best employees their advice. No more powerful recognition to your importance to the organization than to ask a valued employee what they think… about whatever you are concerned about. You will get a perspective that you may not have had before.

The third tip I got from Smalley’s presentation came when he made the statement “Re-recruit” your best employees. Recognize why they were attractive enough to recruit in the first place. Remind them of why you found them interesting. Again this kind of attention will pay dividends in retaining these valued assets.

In conclusion let me ask you HR pros out there what you would add to these tips on how to retain your best employees? What have your successfully done?



Michael D. Haberman, SPHR is Vice-President and co-founder of Omega HR Solutions, Inc., a consulting and services company offering complete human resources solutions. Mike brings over 30 years of experience in dealing with the challenges of Human Resources in the 21st century. Mike uses his broad-based experience as a consultant, practitioner, writer, speaker and instructor in the areas of employment, interviewing, employee relations, management training, outplacement, safety, and social media to help companies solve employee problems and deal with governmental compliance in a constantly changing field. He has a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside; a Master's of Science in Industrial Relations from Georgia State University's Beebe Institute of Personnel and Employment Relations and is certified as a Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR). He has over 13 years experience in the class room teaching human resources fundamentals and certification preparation for multiple universities and organizations.

Mike is the author of the Human Resources blog entitled HR Observations, which as been recognized several times as a Top 25 in human resources related blogs. It was also been named as one of the Top 50 HR blogs to Watch in 2010 and 2011. He has been selected as one of six HR bloggers to be featured on the online version of Human Resources Executive Magazine. He has also been named in the Top 10 Digital Influencers in Human Resources. He blogs on the Toolbox for HR website and contributes to several other web-based newsletter and blog sites. He is frequently quoted in articles on HR topics.

Mike has gained a reputation as a compliance expert. He speaks on a variety of subjects to business associations, human resource associations and business based civic clubs. He has co-presented webinars on various HR related issues. He has authored several book reviews of both non-fiction and fiction and serves as a peer reviewer for SHRM.His clients include a broad spectrum of industries, including food, travel, textiles, medical, financial and construction.

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Omega HR Solutions, Inc. offers human resources solutions including compliance reviews, wage and hour guidance, supervisory/managerial training, strategic guidance


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