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November 23, 2009

Tips for Retaining Top Performers in 2010

A recent survey by Robert Half found that 43 percent of chief information officers said retaining existing workers will be their top priority in 2010.

Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology, says “Employers need to focus on preventing burnout and keeping their best people engaged at work. This may be a challenge, given that staffing cuts and the reduction or elimination of benefits have left many employees feeling overworked and undervalued.”

Although developed with IT employees in mind, these tips are applicable across all employee segments.

  1. Re-recruit your best workers. Talk with employees about what might enhance their job satisfaction and remind them of the unique benefits provided by your company. Emphasize what your firm has to offer, whether it’s a great corporate culture, solid financial standing, or strong industry reputation.
  2. Invest in professional development. One in five (21 percent) CIOs polled for the Robert Half survey said they plan to offer more training and professional development for their staff in 2010. Online learning opportunities, mentoring programs and tuition reimbursement are all good options.
  3. Provide opportunities for career advancement. Structure positions so employees can grow their careers without leaving your firm. Offer promotions to workers who have demonstrated they can succeed at the next level.
  4. Recognize excellence. It seems obvious, but a simple “thank you” and public acknowledgement of your staff’s contributions will strengthen their loyalty.
  5. Communicate regularly with staff. Maintain an open-door policy year-round. Workers want to hear about company news, in good times and bad.
  6. Provide project support. Employees who have lost coworkers to layoffs are, in many cases, now doubling down. If hiring is not an option, consider bringing in project professionals to help alleviate workloads.
  7. Encourage more team-building activities. No doubt, many companies have cut back on employee perks, but an occasional group activity, such as a trip to the movies or an offsite lunch, can make them feel more appreciated.
  8. Consider compensation. While not all firms can offer employees increased salaries, there may be potential for spot bonuses at the end of a major project or team accomplishment.
  9. Promote work/life balance. Give staff members the option to follow a flexible schedule or telecommute one day a week. It doesn’t cost anything to implement these changes and workers will appreciate the leeway.
  10. Evaluate workloads. While every project may seem like a priority, there are likely some that can take a backseat to more pressing matters.
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