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Top tips for retaining talented consultants

Do you know how to keep hold of the most talented consultants who work for you?

The issue of retaining talent is widely written about, and organisations have always faced the challenge of keeping their best people on board, but employment trends have shifted and the concept of a job for life has all but disappeared. As such, talented young people don’t expect to stay with one employer for a long time, and the challenge of retaining talent has become a much greater one.

If you talk to young people – those born around the mid 1980’s, or the so-called ‘Millenials’ – then you will know that what floats their boat isn’t fancy titles and it isn’t just money; what they are seeking is fulfilment and a positive work-life balance. Move this into the arena of the consultant and the challenge multiplies; many consultants work away from home often, so their work is not going to be very well balanced with their life outside of work.

If you are a company staffed by subcontracted, talented consultants who already earn enough money, how can you engage and motivate them to stay with you?

Your top priorities for retaining talent should be:

  1. Human interaction – a point of contact who is really interested in the life of that person outside of work. Someone who can empathise with leaving the family behind for the week, someone who knows that living in a hotel is not the lap of luxury – quite the opposite if a client is paying for a long term stay.
  2. Ensuring there is someone at head office who has the emotional intelligence to realise that giving time off for an employee to attend their children’s nativity plays, sports days and special birthdays buys a lot of engagement and shines a positive light on the company.
  3. Actively seeking to give people interesting work and new challenges, and investing in staff development and training. Personal growth is high on the agenda of those who retain the best talent.
  1. Noticing things that are done well and rewarding them – a bar of luxury chocolate, cinema tickets, a meal out, a gift voucher or just a warmly delivered “thank you” – it makes people realise that you do value and appreciate them, even when you are under pressure.
  1. Listen to what employees have to say and take their ideas and suggestions on board. Don’t be stuck in your ways and expect people to stick around. Suffocating creative ideas will send people running to the hills.

 

People just want to be noticed, appreciated and treated as individuals. What are the best examples you can give of situations in the last week when you have made someone else feel valued?

Penny Whitelock, August 2016

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