Some great tips to retaining talent in your firm

Its great to hire an employee who is talented, professional, intelligent and willing to go the extra mile to get the job done. However, retaining such an employee in a world where talented people can be literally snatched from your firm by the bigger fish or by competitors is a true challenge.

Here are some tips to help you retain your talent pool:
1. Competitive Salary Package
You may not be able to match the deep pockets of a larger company but you should still make an earnest effort to keep your staff salaries reasonably competitive. Generally speaking salary is not always the only reason why a person will switch a job. However, this is only true when the salary is more or less reasonably competitive. Although conditions may vary across geographic regions and industries you can make rough estimates.

2. Appreciating by Differentiating
Wonderful people need to be treated wonderfully. Simple and plain. Make sure that your best employee gets the best salary package in your firm even if that person is younger/less experienced. While there may be resistance from a lot of quarters questioning your judgment, remember that its business. Businesses get most benefit from their best staff and everyone in the staff should be amply clear about what will get them the best bucks at your place. A letter of appreciation as the best employee for the year will surely help as will a bonus based on performance.

3. Job assignments
Try to give the best and most challenging job assignments to your best staff member. This will help to fulfill their desire for more growth by helping them polish their old skills and learn new ones. Moreover, it will help them to see that they have a future at your place and that your firm is not stangant.

4. Perks
Try to see if you can afford some small perks for your staff. Ofcourse, this may not be possible given the size of your firm and your financial standing. Younger companies are generally struggling in their first couple of years to get out of the red and start earning profits. However, if you can afford to do it then don’t hesitate to hand over some perks based on the competency of the staff.
It great if one can do all of the above but remember that its easy to lose focus of the whole situation. Focusing on the best of your talent is just one piece of the puzzle and it should not make you forget about the remaining of the rest of the staff.

Getting the right people for the job

One of my favorite topics of discussion with my fellow colleagues and entrepreneurs is always about hiring the best employees. Like everyone else I have spent many hours pouring over CV’s and filtering out candidates for interviews. I have developed tips and discarded/modified those self made tips and then developed more tips to improve the process. Some good tips that I suggest are:

1. Basic needs fulfillment
See if the candidate meets the basic criteria. Maybe you want someone who will need to speak Spanish and the CV does not state any knowledge of the job (ofcourse I presume that you did post this detail in your job announcement). Or maybe you want a person with 5 years experience and the CV is for a fresh graduate. Filter these out immediately.

2. CV layout
This is something that is more subjective in nature and it can only be learnt over a period of time. A well formatted CV with proper headings and professionally written contents is a pleasure to go through. It shows that the person has spent some time applying working on the CV, is well organized and knows how to state facts about him/her self in a concise manner.

3. Talk on the phone
Some consider a phone call to request the person’s availability for an interview as being enough. Why not use the opportunity to first talk to the person? Place a call and ask the person if you could tak for a few minutes. Spend time to inquire about the passions of the person, past experience in the type of work that the person has applied for and anything else that comes to your mind. This is certainly not a measure to judge a person as you will only be hearing the voice and not seeing the facial expressions/body language of the person. However, this may give you some prior insight about the person’s ability to handle an unplanned talk/situation. The technique is especially great when looking for sales or customer service personnel.

4. Meet face to face. Discuss, discuss, discuss
The personal interview is my favorite part of the whole process. By now the most obvious inappropriate candidates have been filtered. The most like scenario is that you will be meeting people who have a basic knowledge about the intended work assignment that they have applied for, have a passion for the particular field and are happy to talk about their ideas and concepts. The initial phone talk will have melted the ice somewhat and you can talk about the “real stuff” rather than the simple niceties. Don’t hesitate to talk as long as you and the candidate feel comfortable. Ideally you will have left enough space between one interview and the next to account for a longer than planned interview. If time runs out and you still need to discuss then there is certainly no harm in scheduling another meeting/phone conference.

Although the above four steps are good enough for a fair evaluation these are by no means the final verdict. Throw in an aptitude test if you feel that is necessary, software development firms will want to test for programming and PC manufacturers will want to know about the hardware.