During the height of the recession, many executives were happy just to have a job and knew taking a “team-first” approach was critical. Through their individual and team player performances, executives helped ensure the company would survive and remain competitive, while increasing their job security.

Throughout that time, the compensation game also changed. Companies willing to pay bonus compensation expected executives to share in the company’s risk as well as prove that their performance demonstrably impacted the company’s bottom line.

As we move into the second half of 2011, executives find their employment options increasing at a time when they may feel overworked and underappreciated. Our studies indicate that 75 percent of executives are open to receiving solicitations from other companies. Many executives also feel that they worked harder for less money in years past and now that their companies are performing better, they deserve to be compensated more. With these new dynamics coming into play, increasing your focus on strategies to retain your top executive talent is critical to your company’s long-term success.

Here are a few retention strategies—both cash and non-cash—to consider.

1.    Identify your best executive talent and evaluate compensation.

Ask yourself the question, “Who can I not afford to lose?” Then, determine what your competitors and the marketplace pay for those same positions. At Kreischer Miller, we can access numerous compensation databases to help you better understand what the market is paying. If you discover that your company is paying below market for your top performers, you’ll want to give serious consideration to increasing their cash compensation. If you find that you are paying what the market dictates, make sure you communicate this to your executives.

2.    Think non-cash alternatives.

If your company doesn’t have the cash to increase base salaries or bonuses, non-cash compensation methods still can incent your top performers and send the message that you value having them on your team. For instance, consider offering a more flexible work schedule or providing more paid time off. Offering in-house classes, training, or other forms of career development are also helpful.

3.    Engage employees in the workplace.

Over the past year, we have seen an increasing trend toward exposing and engaging employees in company initiatives. This can help employees better understand how their individual contributions affect the company’s performance. For example, we saw more companies implementing cross-functional projects and assigning high-potential employees to participate on these teams. Other companies we work with have invited high-potentials into C-suite private meetings. Even though these tactics are not cash-related, exposing them to your company’s top executives and providing opportunities to be more involved in high-level decision making can go a long way toward helping your top performers feel more valued within the organization.

With the war for talent swinging back into employees’ favor, forward-thinking companies will be proactive in evaluating their workforce and thinking of ways to increase employee engagement and satisfaction levels for their best talent. Will you be one of those companies?

Contact us to learn more about this topic.