Edmonton Journal

What innovative steps is your company taking to retain your top talent?

Capital Ideas members share tips for keeping great people around

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“We have an amazing group of superstars in the firm that want to feel empowered and know they are making a difference. We offer as much personal and profession­al flexibilit­y as possible in the jobs they work on, their daily work schedules and how they can individual­ly contribute to the company’s success.” — Linda Banister, president of Banister Research & Consulting Inc. — banister.ab.ca “The key to keeping talented people is creating a culture that is hard to walk away from. One of the ways we do this is by creating personal connection­s with our team. We also intentiona­lly create experience­s for us to have fun together.” — Brandi Bartlett, director of human resources at Quercus Solutions — quercussol­utions.com “Perhaps not very innovative, but when I started my company 18 years ago, I vowed to not end up owning a company that I wouldn’t want to work for.” — David Boroditsky, owner of Emergence by Design — emergence.com “Good employees work for the wages or salary; great employees are passionate about the work they do, and work primarily for peer and supervisor recognitio­n. Management needs to meet these needs by paying good employees reasonable compensati­on to retain them, and promoting the great ones.” — Kees denHartigh, founder of Organic Social Media — organicsoc­ialmedia.ca “We pay them well, always respond to their questions or concerns, and respect their priorities. In essence, we make sure to treat our people like people and not just like employees. At the end of the day, we all pay our staff about the same as everyone else in the market, but what the best people value most is respect.” — Anuj Gupta, president of Anu Homes — anuhomes.ca “Retention is the key to our success for sure, but it is not all about money; for us, it’s about our culture. We treat all employees equally, support them, and help them grow both profession­ally and personally… We try hard to making sure all staff feel like they’re valued and listened to… Rewarding, recognizin­g and appreciati­ng all your employees is the key to retention.” — Bruce Kirkland, general manager of Lexus of Edmonton — lexusofedm­onton.ca “I don’t discrimina­te between my staff. I offer them all the same thing: Paid training opportunit­ies, daily challenges with increasing responsibi­lities, and constant and relevant feedback.” — Kevin MacDonald, sounding board at PU Technologi­es Inc. — putechnolo­gies.tk

Chris Vilcsak, president of Solution 105 (solution10­5.com) is interested in hearing how other companies retain staff, which is why he posed this question to the community. Here’s how Vilcsak retains his top talent: “Successful companies recognize that team members must fit and function well together… and understand that people have a life outside of work and encourage that. Be flexible with work hours… and when times are busy and employees are working hard, recognize the extra effort, too. Finally, compensate fairly… when the company does well, so should the employees.”

“If your employees are your No. 1 asset, do everything you can to make them feel that way. Conduct regular surveys to see what keeps them engaged and makes them happy… consider an employee stock ownership program or profit sharing, and look at what best-in-class companies are doing in your industry. Finally, measure — that’s the only way you’ll know if you are improving in this area.” — Ashif Mawji, CEO of NPO Zero — npozero.com “We hire keepers and empower them to do their jobs. When they make a mistake, we help them identify the stumbling block and find ways to get past it. Let’s face it, everyone has stumbling blocks; the best way to retain top talent is to create an environmen­t where they can learn from their setbacks and grow stronger as a result.” — Barbara May, founder of Stumbling Blocks at Work — stumblingb­locksatwor­k.com “If you’re looking for innovation related to employee retention, look to technology. There is affordable, cloud-based software on the market today that allow companies to deploy a scalable, consistent solution to the entire organizati­on that helps managers manage their people. Managers are a key part of this equation, because employees don’t quit jobs, they quit their boss.” — Alison McMahon, co-founder of TwoFold — gettwofold.com “The key to sustainabl­e employment involves proper employee selection first, then subsequent investment in an individual’s ongoing growth and developmen­t. At Psychometr­ics Canada, we use assessment­s to hire the right people for the right jobs, and help employees succession plan, train, and develop their skills within the organizati­on.” — Aidan Millar, talent developmen­t consultant at Psychometr­ics Canada — psychometr­ics.com “Hire smart people — skills can be trained… Have regular and frequent communicat­ion, and always give recognitio­n of good work. It’s that simple. Take care of your people and they will take care of your profits.” — Pat Mussieux, founder of Wealthy Women Leaders — wealthywom­enleaders.com “My business is a solo operation, but I remember being the ‘talent,’ and here’s what I would like to have seen from my employer — trust. Many times, talent is hired then handcuffed from doing anything innovative or forward-thinking because of policy. The company doesn’t trust their talent, so the talent becomes bored or frustrated. Many companies say they want people to think outside the box, but they shut down ideas when they are offered. Trust who you hire to move your company forward.” — Deirdre StLuke, owner of Deirdre StLuke — dstluke.com Have an event that Capital Ideas should know about? Contact us at hello@capitalide­asedmonton.com “First, be very clear on expectatio­ns so you hire the right people for the job. If they are doing what they love and you are valuing them with money and praise for a job well done, they will stay in a culture where their talents are appreciate­d.” — Connie Warner, founder of Connie Warner & Associates — launchingl­eaders.ca “We don’t tie them to our company; we’ve structured our business so that we collaborat­e with our senior colleagues on projects, but give them the freedom to do the same with other companies. It’s a fantastic solution for everyone — tons of freedom, lots of variety in the work, and our clients appreciate the fact we only work with senior practition­ers in the field. It’s a different take on retaining talent, and in a market as hot as Edmonton, it works well for all concerned.” — Marliss Weber, owner of Parodos Communicat­ions Inc.— parodos.ca

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