3 Ways to Keep Your Best Talent From Walking Out


By Marjorie Adams, president/CEO of Fourlane, a financial technology consulting firm in the United States.

How do you keep good employees? What motivates them to stay?

Compensation, community involvement and awards have always been inspirational employee retention tools, and now, during today’s anything-but-normal environment, they’ve become even more important.

My company has worked remotely since we opened our doors more than a decade ago. We’ve worked through just about every remote management issue that many other companies have begun to deal with only recently. Although that alone doesn’t make us unique, our staff understands the commitment they need to make to our future as a company and our culture as an organization.

Like a three-legged stool that will tip over if one of the legs is removed, we reinforce this commitment through awards and honors, bringing expertise to community engagement, and offering quick and transparent compensation.

Encourage peer validation.

In our industry, we’re very much driven by our clients’ success, so how do we make sure our staff feels these wins as well? We give our staff awards and celebrations frequently and quickly:

• We have awards — voted on by peers — for each of our five core values, including “Who Connected Best This Year,” “Who Did It Better (And Learned The Most To Give Back),” “Who Always Provided A Solution” and even “Who Gave A S***” (who really cares about being a part of the Fourlane team).

• We also do recognition constantly in our Slack #WaterCooler chat. Every day, we celebrate someone for stepping up, shining, and going above and beyond for their clients.

Whichever department the employee takes part in, they always have clients. For example, internal IT has all Fourlane employees as their “clients.” We feel it’s most important that the recognition comes from colleagues and that the wording of the award corresponds in some way to the mission or values of our company.

Become a part of the community.

Efforts to make a business consultancy part of the community are indispensable — the rewards for the company and staff flow back in incalculable ways. A company should use what it does to reach its community. It’s a chance to do both good and invaluable marketing.

For example, we recently created the Fourlane Scholarship Fund, designed to help college students learn more about business consulting and nontraditional careers in accounting and managed services. In the accounting services community (as in many industries), one of our constant activities is giving knowledge to others; that’s why we do our “What’s New” webinar every year and have our videos free for all referral partners.

The challenge to connect to our community has been greater during current working conditions, but the opportunities are still there. For example, we are a four-star sponsor and donate annually to Hope Totes, an organization that provides care bags of basic necessities to children in emergency shelters and safe houses. While employees used to make and pack bags, that’s become more difficult due to the pandemic. But, even though we can’t gather as a group, we still contribute.

Get what you pay for, and pay for what you get.

Every company has relied on compensation when trying to attract and retain staff, but beyond just numbers, what’s the best way to use money to motivate staff?

First, look at your company’s finances holistically. In these days of working remotely, spend a little in unconventional directions to benefit staff. Allocate money to give your staff home-cleaning services, internet allowances, better hardware for them to use at home and paperless tools.

Regarding compensation, reward quickly and transparently. For example, my company’s consultants and sales reps have complete transparency on their bonuses– and we pay them out monthly or quarterly instead of waiting until year’s end.

Without getting into specific numbers, my company also tries to create a culture where no one has to “ask” for a raise. Any company should see this in its metrics. This helps remove subjectivity so employees don’t have to feel as if they must be someone’s favorite. We feel this system is the fairest and the best way to use compensation to attract and retain talent.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.


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