How to Keep A-Players On Your Team Forever

You’ve probably heard something along these lines before. The person who can pay the most for a customer wins. It’s a pretty famous quote from Dan Kennedy, and many other people echo it. 

It makes sense, too. Obviously, if you can pay more than your competitors to acquire an asset that you can eventually re-market to, retain over time, and build LTV, you’re going to outpace your competitors, especially those within the direct response market.

There’s a dramatic correlation when it comes to building teams. In short, whoever can afford to pay the most for great talent wins the war. 

And if you’re going to compete within any industry, you need the right people in the right places throughout your organization.

The Talent Question

Leaders have struggled to find and retain talent for millennia. Imagine vintners in ancient Rome trying to find the best grape stompers so they could literally outpace the competition. It’s no different today. 

Poor talent acquisition – hiring the wrong people or not hiring people at all – impacts your business in many negative ways. Those include:

  • High turnover rates
  • Low morale
  • Reduced productivity
  • Increased costs overall
  • Damage to your brand

Of course, cracking the talent acquisition nut doesn’t seem to be simple. Truckloads of books have been written on it. Websites and blogs dedicated to hiring have exploded, from LinkedIn to Forbes and HBR. 

For all that diversity, it’s actually pretty simple to attract and then retain the right folks. Ready for the secret recipe? Here it is:

Pay them better than your competitors.

That’s it. It relates directly to the idea of paying more to market to your customers. 

However, it’s not just about financial compensation. Or it’s not just about the money.

The Secret to Hiring and Keeping Top Talent

Financial compensation is important. Let’s get that right out in the open. If you can’t pay your people a competitive wage, then nothing else really matters. 

However, it’s not just about the money, and compensation doesn’t have to be measured entirely in dollars and cents. The thing is that you need to give them something they can’t get on their own and something they’re unlikely to find working with someone else.

You need to give them status and recognition. You need to make them feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. 

It’s about being connected with the company’s mission, but also with the company’s values, culture, and people. It’s also about growth opportunities and feeling as though they’re part of a family that will support them as they move forward in their career, even if that means changing trajectories down the road.

How can you pay your people in these areas? What makes your culture better? What career guidance or support initiatives do you offer? 

If you’re able to achieve this, you’ll win the talent war.

This is also a conversation leaders must have with themselves regularly. Look over your pay structure and ask yourself how you can pay your people more. Ask yourself what opportunities exist for more recognition, more growth, and more support. How can you be there for your people in new ways that matter to them?

Keeping Great Talent

Of course, hiring great talent is only part of the equation. It doesn’t do you much good to go through the marketing, interview, hiring, and onboarding process only to have top talent jump ship a few months down the road because your promises didn’t pan out. 

We’re talking about retention, and it’s an even more powerful tool than attraction. Because when you have great people who stay the course with you, it acts as a testament to your organization’s value to its employees. It says that you’re doing something right.

At the end of the day, employee retention also involves fighting employee burnout. And burnout probably isn’t what you think it is. The Mayo Clinic defines it as, “a special type of work-related stress – a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” 

Let’s expand on that. There’s always a feeling that the employee is giving more than they’re getting and they’ve lost the connection to the reason they’re giving so much. Fighting it requires reminding your employees of why they do what they do and why they’re part of your organization in the first place and doing so long before the signs of burnout manifest.

How? Think about your employees. Do they feel like they’re getting more than they’re giving/ Do they know why what they’re doing is so important? As simple as it sounds, if you take that to heart, it makes a huge difference in your talent recruitment and retention efforts. It also makes an enormous difference in the amount of fun you can have.

The Element of Fun

One of the things often overlooked in the hiring and retention process is enjoyment. Fun is important. Actively liking where you go to work every day (whether that’s a physical location or it’s a remote position) is essential. Your people need to like what they do and who they get to do it with.

Making your workplace more fun can have some pretty profound impacts on your entire team and the organization as a whole. It boosts morale, which improves productivity. It also helps you avoid burnout while enhancing creativity, which is essential for innovation. It also promotes collaboration and helps employees form stronger ties with one another, both of which are essential for success and growth.

In Conclusion

In the end, those who pay their employees more will win the talent war. Good financial compensation is important, yes, but never forget that it’s the whole package. It’s what you can give your employees that they cannot find elsewhere, from perks to the culture to your commitment to staying by their side as they advance their careers. 

With that sort of buy-in, you’ll not only outpace the competition but build an incredible team.

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