The Highlands Company Blog

Attention Leaders: How to Guide Discussions to Engage and Retain Talent

In normal times, employee retention is a crucial aspect. Now, amid the Great Resignation, the importance is even greater. Why? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of employee turnover ranges between 20% and 60% across various sectors. That’s huge! The good news? It is preventable.

Employee retention is an ongoing leadership objective—and those who master the nuances of keeping employees satisfied in their positions reap the benefits.

Read on as we explore why retention is critical and offer proactive ways to ensure employees feel valued enough to stick with your organization for the long term.

The high cost of staff turnover

There’s no way around it: voluntary employee turnover is expensive for companies. And not just in financial terms, though it certainly is in this regard as well. The overarching financial expense is summed up in three words: recruiting, onboarding, and training. According to Gallup, this is a trillion-dollar proposition for companies annually. That’s staggering. But it doesn’t end there. With every new employee, a company’s culture and interpersonal relationships are at risk of shifting; these and other “soft” costs can add up in subtle but impactful ways.

Why does employee engagement matter for retention?

Employees leave voluntarily all the time, for countless reasons, but many suggest their exits could have been prevented by engaged superiors. This is hopeful news for leaders who are prepared to proactively approach matters of employee retention. Engagement is a simple concept: show employees day in and day out that they matter, that they are appreciated and that they add value to the company. Treat them with respect, give them a space to voice their ideas and concerns, and tap into their strengths and talents. Engagement pays dividends for those leaders willing to make this preventative effort.

Leaders: Retain talent for long-term success

Recruiting and retaining top talent are among a company’s most cost-effective measures. Read on for tips to make this process second nature in your organization.

Engage in productive conversations

Every employee possesses unique strengths. An effective leader unearths employees’ natural talents and explores the best use of these strengths. The Highlands Ability Battery (HAB) is an ideal tool for this. The HAB also identifies one’s personal style, which plays a big role for employees too. Taking it one step further, leaders should then open a dialogue to engage employees in understanding their value and maximizing these strengths. This involves ongoing, open communication.

Here are some conversation starters to get you started:

    • Do you prefer working with others through joint responsibilities or working more autonomously and independently, bringing something “finished” for your team to use?
    • Considering time alone versus with people, what gives you energy? What depletes your energy?
    • Are you more engaged in your responsibilities when you see an immediate result or when your work is connected to a longer-term strategic plan?
    • Under what circumstances do you get bored? What conditions or activities leave you so engaged you lose track of time?

Encourage success

It behooves leaders to appreciate and value employees’ attributes to encourage incremental application for end-result success. Here are a few attributes employees may possess that should be recognized and supported:

    • Remain calm under pressure
    • Generate creative approaches to systems, processes, and problems
    • Communicate with clarity
    • Offer thought-out, researched-based solutions

Play to individuals’ strengths

For the benefit of all, play to individuals’ strengths. Knowing and maximizing team members’ natural abilities and personal style preferences—and encouraging communication and transparency surrounding these aspects—leads to effective utilization that benefits the entire team, company, and organization.

Long-term success: It begins with retention

The Highlands Ability Battery offers powerful, insightful information for employees and leaders alike. By taking an inside-out approach to professional development, the HAB- Leader Experience helps organizations and teams of all sizes discover people’s innate strengths and natural talents—and understand how to best utilize them.

Learn more about the HAB today and how it can have a positive long-term impact on your company’s success.