Good Better Best, Never Let it Rest

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Expert Perspective from Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board
 
In his May 07 2010 article in New Scientist (Economic recovery needs psychological recovery) author Stephen Lea writes: “A psychologically sophisticated recovery policy would focus attention on what George Katona, one of the founders of economic psychology, called the “better-better” group: people who feel they are better off than they were a year ago, and who believe they will be even better off in a year’s time. Katona showed that their behaviour was the motor of economic recovery. It is the better-betters who are most likely to spend the economy back to stability.”

We wondered if and how a company might use this concept by identifying, hiring and motivating its “better better” employee group to fuel its own financial success.  

As we shared in our blog Employment Tectonics: The Coming Quake: “ …even with a continuing high level of unemployment the turnover of senior and high talented people will increase dramatically.  The best advice to companies is not to think the high levels of unemployment will help you to hold onto your best talent. That is just not the case.  As the economy starts to recover, the smartest companies are looking both at selecting and recruiting the top talent from other firms while retaining and motivating their own best employees.”

Here are a few simple steps to help you retain your best talent:

Step 1: Know what organizational capabilities are the key drivers of corporate success, and then identify the positions in the organization that are most highly valued and, therefore, should be staffed by top talent.

Step 2: Invest in your best people and design rewards programs around your best employees. Of course, that requires that you take that first step to determine who those key employees are.  Identify the 90th percentile people in your company, because research has shown the 90th percentile person, the top performers, can produce double that of an average employee without double the pay.   Review your Total Rewards programs and redesign them to differentiate packages to reward key personnel in meaningful ways while managing risk.

Step 3: Respect your employees and work to enhance their self esteem.  When they make a difference, you should celebrate that.  Remember that some of the most successful companies today were started by individuals who were stifled at their previous jobs and felt they had to go elsewhere, even out on their own to succeed. The important consideration is to avoid managing to mediocrity as you will lose the interest and eventually the employment of your top talent.  

Step 4: Be transparent and be honest in your communications, especially from top management. Give your employees a reason to believe that your organization is the “better better” place to be.  In particular, make sure your key individuals know that you believe they are critical to your company’s long-term success.

Contact Grahall’s OmniMedia Editorial Board at edie.kingston@grahall.com

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