Here in Houston, specialized accounting talent is in high demand but short supply– and many companies are finding that in order to source top talent, they need to recruit these individuals away from their current companies. Businesses need to be proactive with their retention efforts or risk losing their best performers to the competition. Failing to pay adequate attention to employee needs can result in higher turnover rates, low engagement and a poor workplace culture that makes future recruitment more difficult.

Top talent needs career path advancement opportunities. If they’re uncertain about their future with your company or feeling disengaged from their current jobs, they’ll be more likely to consider competitors’ offers. Assuage these concerns through clear communication and success recognition– and then sweeten the deal with a competitive benefits package.

Here’s how your company can boost retention efforts:

  1. Recognize success. If budgets are tight, performance bonuses may be lean or non-existent. It’s still important to let employees know they’re valued members of the team through other means. For example, you could arrange an off-site lunch with an executive supervisor for a high performing team member. This lunch not only recognizes the employee’s success, but also demonstrates your company’s commitment to their professional development.
  2. Prioritize open communication. During a downturn, keep your team in the loop on what’s happening. Be clear about how your company is working to keep everyone on payroll, even if that means taking cuts across the board. If you do have to let some employees go, acknowledge team members who step up to bridge the gap and set clear expectations about workload moving forward.
  3. Focus on benefits. Benefits packages are playing a larger role in company recruitment and retention efforts. For example, with out-of-pocket health care costs increasing, companies trying to woo talent away from their current employers are offering perks like full health benefits. Don’t let your company be out-matched. Finally, while benefits like telecommuting or flextime are becoming more popular, don’t overlook the importance of solid long-term incentives like profit sharing, retirement and performance bonuses.

 

I’ve been active in Houston’s accounting and finance industry since 1982. While much has changed over the years, the element most essential to retention remains the same: a personal touch. Whether that’s recognizing employee work anniversaries or holding a congratulatory lunch for the team, these small gestures go a long way to fostering a strong company culture.

 

How does your company retain top talent? I invite you to share your insights and perspectives in the comments section below.