chartAs the economy slowly improves, more and more employers are finding it difficult to retain their strongest performing employees. A new WorldatWork/Hay Group study entitled Retention of Key Talent and the Role of Rewards has found that 83 percent of businesses see the rate of turnover for key talent as very costly while two-thirds said that retaining such employees are a primary concern for senior management. Participants in the study stated that the most common reason for high performing employees to quit was a better paying job elsewhere. Other popular responses included a lack of promotional opportunities, the perception of an unfair salary, and overall job dissatisfaction.

“Talent wars are going to become intense, not just this year but for the foreseeable future, because jobs are becoming more complex and demanding, Baby Boomers are retiring and Generation X has far fewer people who can fill this gap, and other countries are retaining their most talented people with great job opportunities of their own,” said Dr. Dow Scott, primary investigator for the report.

The methods found to be the most effective at retaining top employees included: discussing future opportunities with employees identified as key talent; paying key talent above the labor market average; and offering the ability to telecommute or have a flexible schedule.

“Rewards professionals are under increased pressure to make counteroffers, increase new-hire offers, and offer special deals to retain key employees,” said Kerry Chou, a certified compensation professional and practice leader at WorldatWork. “The most successful organizations moving forward will be those that develop a clear definition of what is considered key talent, identify them and make a concerted effort to ensure that those employees are engaged with their organization and satisfied with the full range of organization rewards.”

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