Just before Christmas, Tess C. Taylor (The HR Writer) published an article with PayScale on ‘7 tips for hiring and retention of top performing employees’. These seven points are broadly correct but ultimately are left wanting; unfortunately, they miss the key points around hiring and retention.

1. Hire Quality People

This is always a good idea and mandatory/vital in key roles – but it’s not always practical. Of course, you make every effort to hire the best possible person for the head of a department. However, do you really want to pay a premium for your toilet cleaners? Expending exorbitant time and money on commodity resources just isn’t smart.

A good assessment, screening and interviewing process is also important; one cannot forget reference checking though; knowing how a prospective employee has worked with others in the past is vital to knowing if they are a good fit for your business. However, success in their last role is worth little, if you haven’t communicated the requirements of the job. Even more importantly, you must communicate how they can be successful in the role. That goes for every employee – even your toilet cleaners.

2. Offer Generous Compensation and Benefits

The title of this tip is going the right direction, but the explanation is way off the mark. Market-based compensation is, by definition, what everyone else is paying! It hardly qualifies as ‘generous compensation and benefits’ if everyone else is getting it too.

Again, there must be both clarification and quantification of generous compensation for key roles. Understanding the value provided by a role allows you to offer an appropriately generous compensation package with justification and substantiation. A value-based compensation plan that directly ties compensation and benefits to the amount of value the employee is producing for your company is much more effective and efficient.

3. Give Them a Great Work Culture

This point is important, and we can summarise it down to one thing it – ‘respect’. Respect covers pretty much everything you need to understand about fantastic work culture.

4. Make Learning a Priority

Learning is a mechanism for advancement and being more successful.  No one learns anything for the sake of it, and if they do, they soon forget it.  Learning and development programs are the transaction – the actual strategy is committing to your employees’ success. This point should actually be ‘Make Investing in People a Priority’. We want people to learn so they can unlock the doors to greater personal (and by inference, company) success.

5. Progressive Performance for Pay

Pay-for-performance is a buzzword in compensation now, but what is described here is neither progressive nor pay-for-performance. Performance reviews, in the sense it is used, are not pay for performance either – they are more akin to performance management.  It’s important to note that performance management and performance measurement are different.  Pay-for-performance is linked to the successes and outcomes of employees, not their efforts. Pay-for-performance does increase productivity, employee morale, and loyalty, but only when performance is closely aligned with value attribution. That’s often not the case.

6. Transform Work Norms

Yes, being aware of changes in the workforce and transforming to meet the needs of a new generation of workers is important. Shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic never did anything for anyone though. Continual transformation is bad for companies, especially when it is just for the sake of it. This links back to having respect for your employees (see point 3). Providing people with a work environment in which they are respected and have the opportunity to be successful in life, and at work, is the key.  If you don’t have that already, transform to fix the problem, and then get back to business.

7. Communicate Core Values

Having core values that you believe in and that the company stands for, whatever that is, is vital. Communicating those core values and making sure that your employees and your clients and customers know what those values are, and believe in them too, is even more important.  Success is not all about outcomes; the journey is also important. Core values are the foundation of a company, without them everything else falls down.


At eeStrategy, we have a cohesive view of what makes a business successful – respecting and recognizing all employees, and especially top performers – and we have the technology and expertise to do that. If you want a progressive, respectful, high-performing, well-paid organization that lives and breathes its values – contact us.