Retaining Top Talent: How London Bay Homes keeps its best performers

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Every company, regardless of size and industry, is focused on the retention of top talent.  It’s just one of the battles under the War for Talent.

Luxury, and fast-growing homebuilder, London Bay Homes is no different.  Since 2015, the company has nearly doubled the number of employees on the payroll and once talent is in place, they have a program that keeps high potential employees with the company in the future.

It starts at the beginning

Vice President of human resources Sabra Smith told The Business Observer, retention begins once the new employee starts with the company.  The new employee is quickly introduced to every facet of the company including process, procedures, and staff.  Smith says it makes a big difference down the line when the employee is faced with staying with the company or leaving.

Once the employee has been with the company for a period of time and London Bay Homes leaders have an opportunity to assess the person’s work, a decision is made on how to proceed with retention efforts.  If the employee is considered high potential, the company will focus more time on their development.  Those that don’t fit into that group do not receive nearly as much attention.  Now, this does not indicate the company doesn’t spend time working with these individuals.

It’s quite the contrary.

Those employees who need more development are subject to what London Bay refers to as two-plus-two employee reviews.  Essentially, an employee that fits into this category will sit down with managers and is given two areas where the person can excel and two areas where the employee needs work.  It will be reassessed in 90-120 days.  The desire here is not to leave these individuals behind, but to make sure they contribute to the overall company in some way.  According to the Business Observer, the company just realizes that not everyone is going to be a high potential in the end and spending the time treating each person as such is not the best way to move forward.

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The high potentials, on the other hand, are subjected to a different procedure.  Company leaders focus on finding ways these employees can move up in the company.  Essentially, the company believes everyone is responsible for their own careers, but the company wants to ensure these high potential employees see a future with the company.  

Rewards Strategy

From here, the company tries to retain top talent through perks.  It’s not a new concept.  London Bay, and other companies, has been using rewards and recognition as a form or retention strategy for a long time.

In fact, one of the biggest challenges facing HR professionals is about offering rewards to employees that lead to more engagement and a positive environment thus increasing performance.

For more than 30 years Kenneth W. Thomas, Ph.D. has researched workplace motivation. He says rewards fall into two categories:

  1. Extrinsic
  2. Intrinsic

Extrinsic rewards are usually financial and/or tangible in nature. Examples would be pay raises, bonuses, and benefits.  In contrast, intrinsic rewards are psychological in nature meaning employees get satisfaction from doing meaningful work and doing it well.

Thomas says workers in today’s age are asked more often to self-manage and use their intelligence and experience to accomplish goals laid out by their employers. That’s how workers today add value.

From there, Thomas said he and his research team found four key components of the self-management process.

  1. Purpose
  2. Purpose fulfillment
  3. Completed work
  4. Progress toward the purpose

When each component in the process is completed, there is a positive emotional charge.

"These positive charges are the intrinsic rewards that employees get from work, ranging in size from quiet satisfaction to an exuberant ‘Yes!’ They are the reinforcements that keep employees actively self-managing and engaged in their work,” Thomas wrote.

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For London Bay, the company tends to focus on extrinsic rewards.  For instance, the company provides employees with a $100 Fitbit activity tracker and a free gym membership.  It also holds an annual end-of-season party.  The desire here is to keep employees engaged and provide them with the idea they are being embraced by the company and its leaders.

Mistakes that make employees leave

Not all companies are able to retain employees in the way London Bay Homes retains its staff.  According to a joint study from The FAAS Foundation and Mental Health America more than 70% of U.S. workers are considering or actively looking for a new job.

With that in mind, there are some mistakes to avoid when working to retain talent.

Firstly, make sure to provide a work/life balance.  For instance, don’t push employees to answer an email or a phone call outside working hours.  Leaders must make it clear to employees that there needs to be a separation between work and home.  This gives employees an opportunity to recharge and come back the next day ready to work.

Secondly, provide opportunities for growth.  Cool company perks will only gleam for so long.  Make sure to provide development opportunities, especially to those employees who are considered high potential.

Lastly, communicate.  A lack of communication breeds uncertainty and undermines the confidence of good employees.  Encourage employees to take part in the decision-making process, present new ideas, and take part in honest discussions.

Good employees are an investment in a company’s future, but they don’t stay just to stay.  A company that takes care of its people will be taken care of by its people.