5 Simple Strategies to Keep Your Hero Talent

Tara Jaye Frank is the author of Say Yes: A Woman’s Guide to Advancing Her Professional Purpose.


I’m going to make this brief. Many companies have undergone significant change over the last several years. Heightened consumer expectations, a ruthless business climate, the fast pace of technology, and increasing diversity of gender, culture, and flexible work needs have upended our once reliable talent management practices. The greatest risk to any organization during this time is losing top talent on the bridge from where you are to where you want to be. Here are five strategies you can use right away to keep your top talent engaged.

Be generous and specific with praise.

This is not a time to be stingy with positive feedback. When you hold back, you risk having your top talent wonder where they stand. The longer they wonder, the more curious they become about what’s going on elsewhere. Show gratitude. Express in detail what you value about them and why—the skills, behaviors, and results they deliver that make them so important to your team’s future. Then get other influential leaders to provide feedback to fortify yours.

Find out what motivates them.

Sometimes we refrain from pulling retention levers until it’s too late. Talented employees don’t like when you throw them a bone as a last-ditch effort. It feels disingenuous. If you know your company’s current state is making people antsy, identify what your critical players value. Then provide it. Money? Flexibility? Public recognition? Autonomy? Challenging work? Whatever it is, get on it. It’s “cheaper to keep her.”

Make sure they feel connected.

Strong work relationships minimize the stress associated with change. When employees collaborate, solve hairy problems, and flip dilemmas with people they know and trust, they’re more satisfied at work and feel supported. Difficult issues can’t be solved in isolation—it takes a village. If your employees feel part of a team, they’re more likely to hang in there through tough times.

Challenge them.

Your top employees want to work hard. They want to influence strategy, lead teams, overcome barriers, and break new ground. They want to be part of the solution. Engage them in designing the future state! Entrust them with confidential information that will let them know you have confidence in their ability to facilitate transformation. Everyone wants to feel useful, right? Your top leaders, like “A” students, like to be on the front lines.

Give them a reason to believe.

I saved this for last, but it’s arguably the most important. Smart, talented employees need a vision they can get behind. They want to make a difference and see themselves in a future that inspires them. Sometimes people leave an organization because they just don’t believe anymore, either because you haven’t shown them a version of the future they connect to, or they don’t see a viable path to get there. A compelling vision with an actionable plan gives people hope.

There you have it. 5 simple strategies to keep your hero talent. The job market currently favors results-driven, innovative, and agile leaders. Chances are that’s exactly the kind you need, too! Don’t hang back and hope they’ll be patient through the storm, or assume they know they’re important to you. I guarantee a select few are job-hunting as you read this article.

If you have winning talent strategies to share, please add them below!


This article was first published at www.TaraJayeFrank.com

Tara Jaye Frank

Tara Jaye Frank is VP of Multicultural Strategy for Hallmark Cards, Inc. and the author of Say Yes: A Woman’s Guide to Advancing Her Professional Purpose, written to help women from all cultural backgrounds chart a career course they can believe in and achieve. Follow her on Twitter @tarajfrank and Facebook at Facebook/tarajayefrank, or visit her at tarajayefrank.com.

25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

Whenever I’m asked “What are some of the best questions to ask a ...

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

25 Songs For Your Leadership Playlist

What are your all-time favorite leadership songs — the ones that make you ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a question I ask in a survey ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Truly great leaders are hard to come by, but it seems everyone thinks ...

If You’re Not Seizing Stretch Assignments at Work, You’re Doing It Wrong.
If You’re Not Seizing Stretch Assignments at Work, You’re Doing It Wrong.

 These bonus opportunities have the power to boost your leadership cred and wholly transform your

The Case for Why Millennial Women Should Job-Hop
The Case for Why Millennial Women Should Job-Hop

There are strong arguments for and against the debated practice, but for millennial women, job-hopping

Infographic: How to Slay a Stretch Assignment
Infographic: How to Slay a Stretch Assignment

Recent years have been full of talk about how to elevate women at work. Have you

Panel Presentations: Does Speaker Order Really Matter?
Panel Presentations: Does Speaker Order Really Matter?

On speaker panels, does the panelist order matter? If you’ve ever attended or spoken on

4 Tips for Failing Forward
4 Tips for Failing Forward

After you make a mistake, it’s easy to focus intently on your defects. And then

Press Release: Be Leaderly’s Selena Rezvani Wins 2019 Croly Award for Excellence in Journalism
Press Release: Be Leaderly’s Selena Rezvani Wins 2019 Croly Award for Excellence in Journalism

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—July 9, 2019—The General Federation of Women’s Clubs is pleased to honor Selena

4 Steps to a Flexible Work Arrangement
4 Steps to a Flexible Work Arrangement

Are you hungry for a little more flexibility in your day?  If so, you’re not

Dealing with a Bossy Coworker
Dealing with a Bossy Coworker

You might expect the occasional “order” or “command” from your boss. But it’s a whole

Press Release: Be Leaderly Wins Gold & Silver at the 2019 Stevie Awards
Press Release: Be Leaderly Wins Gold & Silver at the 2019 Stevie Awards

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa—June 11, 2019—Be Leaderly, a globally recognized provider of women’s leadership development and

15 Questions to Ask Before Taking a Stretch Assignment
15 Questions to Ask Before Taking a Stretch Assignment

Stretch assignments are like the Instant Pot of career development. An intensely challenging, ambitious, go-big-or-go-home

Ask Jo: How can I thank my mentor?

Question: I have an incredible mentor. She ...

Teamwork is a Skill. It Takes Practice!

Everyone wants to lead, or be a ...

It’s Worth the Risk (I promise)

This is Sarah. She’s one of my ...

100 Leadership Qualities

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a ...

Leaderly Quote: Great Leaders Know When to Step Aside

“Great leaders know when to step aside.” ...

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Copyright 2019, Be Leaderly