The modern workplace or business environment is nothing like it was in yesteryears when employees started from the bottom and worked their way up to the top after thirty to forty years of selfless dedication to one employer. Instead, the modern workplace is much more dynamic. Employees tend to migrate to workplaces or businesses where priority and emphasis are placed on things such as work-life balance and a good reward structure.

The importance of maintaining top talent:

Employees and their correlating skills and expertise are the lifeblood of most businesses. Businesses achieve their goals and perform optimally through their actions, application of expertise, and action of organisational goals and ambitions. Employees who are skilled and possess the relevant skillset and aptitude for a specific function within a business are highly beneficial since they are generally more productive, can identify any changes in the industry that may arise and thus possess the experience required to adapt to such changes. Top talent can better capitalise on any opportunities that may arise, placing the business in a more competitive position in relation to their competition.

The correlating effect of top talent within an organisation is that through such talent driving organisational excellence and performance, it leads to that particular business or organisation attracting more top talent in the future since the organisation is seen as a place where performance is a premium and talent is appreciated thereby creating a cycle of excellence.

Ways of retaining and maintaining top talent:

Numerous ways of retaining top talent exist, some more elaborate than others. However, some of the most important or commonly adopted practices include the following:

  • Rewards and recognition – Rewards do not necessarily have to be compensatory in nature; the mere fact that top talent is rewarded in some way or another, even if it be through simple recognition of the work done, goes a long way in maintaining employee morale and engagement which in turn translates into more motivated employees.
  • Flexibility – Except for specific industries, the proverbial 9 to 5 is slowly but surely becoming a thing of the past. Not every employee functions at their best at 8 am, whereas other employees may. With this in mind, employers looking to retain top talent should look at, if viable, flexible working arrangements to garner the most from talented employees.
  • Work-life balance and employee wellness – This topic could be the subject of its own series of articles due to the proliferation of thoughts and writing on this idea. It is such a talked about point because, in the modern workplace, employees place a high premium on a positive work-life balance and work in an environment that holds employee wellbeing in high regard. When employees are taken care of, they perform more optimally, leading to better organisational performance.

As a result, in a highly competitive business environment, it is becoming paramount for employers and businesses to not only recruit top talent but to ensure that they effectively retain and maintain top talent within the workplace through various ways and means. The above ways are by no means exhaustive. As times change and as the workplace becomes more dynamic, employers and businesses looking to retain top talent will need to continuously explore novel options to ensure employees remain, but most importantly, remain optimally productive as well.

Article by Daniel van der Merwe

National Collective Bargaining Co-ordinator at Consolidated Employers Organisation (CEOSA)