5 New Ways to Retain Top Performers

Many firms are aware of top-talent retention essentials: Attractive compensation, career progression, interesting client work, quality mentoring and leadership programs are crucial to stay competitive.

If you want to position yourself to keep your star players around longer. Here are five ways you can bring new life to retention initiatives:

1. Embrace transparency

CPAs spend the day number crunching. Ironically, many of them are in the dark about the financial state of their own organizations. Give them the “inside scoop” about high-level operating expense categories and margins. This will make your firm more profitable in the long run, and will help them become stakeholders in the organization. They are numbers people, after all.

2. Unlimited expense accounts

Yes, you read that right - and don't stop reading just yet. If you trust your top talent, this should be possible. And it means that you must stop interfering while your best staff gets the job done. You don’t have to announce it to the world, but let top performers know you’ll stand by their judgment even if it’s not always “ordinary and necessary.”

3. Beat them to the flexible schedule

Your top talent may have a life event coming up: marriage, children, aging parents — the list goes on. Instead of waiting for an employee to bring up a different work arrangement, beat them to it.

When you hear about a baby on the way, as a mentor, you should immediately offer to consider a new kind of schedule or work plan. This discussion is not reserved for the pregnant; dads and partners may also be interested in a change.

4. Ask them what they want

Have you tried a “stay-interview” yet? Like a bite of dark chocolate, they’re addictive and healthy, compared to their milk-chocolate cousin: the exit interview.

The stay-interview is a one-on-one meeting in which leadership (not “someone from Human Resources”) talks with a team member about his or her satisfaction level. It’s a chance to discuss what's liked and disliked about the job, and what the organization can do for retention. The value of these meetings is far beyond the time they take. Frankly, this is the job of all managers; unfortunately they’re not often doing it.

5. Have fun

Surprise! Your workplace culture should make talent want to stay. If your top performers feel like you don’t walk the walk, or that you are trying to win the “Top 100 Stodgiest Firms” award, it will be hard to keep them around. The bonus is, you’ll discover an increase in productivity and efficiency.


More ideas for top talent retention, specific to your firm's goals for growth and client service are available, set up a call with Kristen to talk through changes that can affect your firm today.