How to... recognise top talent and hold on to it

There's nothing more time-consuming or costly than losing talented employees. As any recruiter will tell you, it's far easier to retain your best and brightest employees than to replace them.

How to... recognise top talent and hold on to it

Get creative. Recognising talent is no easy task, as people tend to make judgements about this based on their own needs. Talent is often unleashed through creativity, so offer your employees a little creative freedom. Give them the chance to make their own suggestions and decisions.

Opinions count. Employees like to feel valued, but the really talented ones often want to be heard and know their opinions matter. Set up regular meetings and treat these as an opportunity to question their goals and whether these are being achieved, and if not, what you can do to help. Set attainable, yet challenging, tasks to give them a realistic idea of how they can progress their career – within your company, of course.

Use existing talent to spot the next best and brightest. Talented people can get very frustrated when working with others they perceive not to be up to scratch. Consider involving them in the interview or recruitment process – at the very least it will give you an idea of whether the individuals could work well together.

If you can’t beat them, join them. Gone are the days when companies could keep their top talent a closely guarded secret. LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networks are enabling people to showcase their achievements to the world, so it’s an uphill task to keep competitors from finding out about your brightest stars. Encourage your employees to establish, maintain and build their social networks – this will enhance the pride they take in their work and encourage loyalty.

Say thank you. It’s simple, free and will make your employees feel valued and appreciated. It might even make them think twice about moving on.