Top employers attract and retain the top talent. That is the stark reality of a competitive business world, where retaining experienced and skilled employees must be made a top priority.

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The good news is that there are many different ways in which this can be achieved, even if your business is not positioned to pay the highest salaries in the marketplace.

Of course, financial remuneration is important but salaries can be boosted by comprehensive or unique benefits packages, together with programmes to train and develop employees.

The importance of formal development cannot be underestimated. The promise of further training and development opportunities is simply not enough to retain the best of the best. These promises must be reflected in clearly-defined training, coaching and mentoring programmes, for example, in order to prevent talented staff from moving on to an employer where pledges are backed by action.

Yet, even dedicating a member of your team, or sectioning out an entire department, may still not be enough to retain the top talent. Your goal should not be to compartmentalise the training and development of staff members. Instead, the aim should be genuine engagement – a key element of effective retention – where interaction is expected with even the most senior members of your team.

The most successful leaders understand the importance of sharing ideas and of listening to the opinions of their top talent and blossoming employees; thereby gaining in the long-term from their employees’ business input and their feelings of empowerment and engagement.

Training alone will never prove a substitute for top-level interaction, which can be vital in creating a bond with exceptional employees that competitors will find difficult to break. When questioned, many employees would even place quality time spent with leaders as a more valuable reward for hard work than any monetary recompense or performance-related gifts.

Companies which are renowned for their retention rates will often plan meals with top-level executives instead of gift voucher rewards, for example, prompting even the busiest leaders to recognise the importance of this sort of interaction and make it a non-negotiable fixture on their schedules. Time may be one of the most valuable commodities but the cost of a few hours is nothing compared to the business impact of losing top talent.

Many businesses will claim that people are central to their operations but this sort of bold statement must be backed by a commitment to placing them in the limelight – and keeping them there.

If you are finding it difficult to retain and recruit good people, it is time to look objectively at your business. Are you failing to dedicate enough time to your staff and allowing your managers to do the same?

It is vital to assess every aspect of your business in order to understand where the retention issues arise. Does your workforce feel unrewarded or undervalued? Are you asking them to work in an environment that is uninspiring and unfit for purpose? Are you failing in your role as a top employer, effectively forcing top talent to look elsewhere?

Your role is to set you and your business apart from the pack, allowing you to attract and retain employees that will reinforce this position and minimise the disruption caused by poor retention rates.

This could be achieved through multiple measures, ranging from offering innovative work spaces to genuinely valuable perks. But the outcome should be the same; an ability to not just attract the best people for your jobs but to keep them there for, potentially, many years to come.

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