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How to Retain Top Executives Through Recognition & Reward – Podcast | S1:E15

It is important to recognize and reward your top executives for their hard work as a retention tool. In today’s episode we discuss ways go above and beyond to recognize and reward key executives in your company. We also discussed the importance of work life balance as a way to retain not only top executives but employees across your organization.

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Podcast Transcription – S1:E15


Intro: 00:02 Get ready for your weekly dose of talent strategies and tactics from industry leaders to help you attract, select and retain your top talent. You’re listening to Inside Executive Search with Steve Yakesh and Scott Peterson.
Speaker_1: 00:30 Hello and welcome to the Inside Executive Search podcast. My name is Steve Yakesh and this podcast is for business owners, executives, and board members seeking strategies and tactics to attract, select and retain the very best. If you’re not feeling 100% confident that you have a plan to attract those very best candidates, keep listening, this podcast will help you get there. That said, welcoming for the 15th time, Mr. Scott Peterson from Versique Search. Wow, we’re starting to really understand how to do this now with 15 of these, we’re getting better every time. Well, I would like to think so, but people can rate us. Exactly. Well, Hey, last week as a quick recap, we talked about the importance of leadership peer groups and how to effectively get the most out of your key employees by surrounding them with their peers and then secondarily a compensation, meaning we had the right compensation package to attract them, but as you move into year two, three and four, how do you maintain
Speaker_2: 01:26 I think you want to make sure that you don’t forget just because the executive has an attractive compensation package and stock options and some other pieces that make taking the position attractive, let’s not forget that they’re humans and humans like to be recognized for the work that they do for going above and beyond what might be characterized as the job duties or the or the position duties. That can mean anything from, Hey, you were an integral part of this huge acquisition and you want to be recognized in front of your peers for doing those things that are again, above and beyond. Yeah. It’s not just for staying late and giving them a golf clap as to, hey, you’re working hard. That not what they want, but they want recognition that their hard work is translating a positive impact on the business. Right, and you want that recognition not only to be directly to the person, but you also want the people around them and the employees of the company to hear about it either through co
Speaker_1: 03:31 Yeah. And I think it’s important to even get that recognition from one layer above your boss. Meaning if I’m the CEO and I brought in a strong CFO, I as his boss can say, you did a great job on this. Hey, thanks for streamlining this. It’s really having an impact, but me as a CEO, I’m going to the ownership or the board of directors and asking them to recognize as well.
Speaker_2: 03:59 Right, you want it to be recognized at all channels of the organization. It’s the same way if the CEO sees someone that reports to that CFO doing something extraordinary, the CEO, obviously can seek that person and recognize them for a job well done, again on whatever that topic might have been.
Speaker_1: 04:17 Yeah, well and I think to just remember all the different mediums you can use, like you alluded to earlier. I mean, you can put something on companywide newsletter, you can send a specific email to that person or company wide. You can verbalize it in an all company meeting. There’s lots of ways you can do it and each person probably is a receptive in different mediums.
Speaker_2: 04:46 And I know at our company here at Versique, we do that as a group every month, peer recognition. We also do it in a company newsletter, but then there’s that walking by the desk, congratulating somebody for a job well done.
Speaker_1: 04:59 Perfect. Anything else on recognition? Does that cover that? I think that’s pretty good. General kind of guidelines. So just don’t forget to recognize your executives at the whatever medium you use. Right. And when you do it. All right, let’s talk about rewards. So, set aside the compensation, we’ve already addressed that on not only to attract them but as a retention, but what are some other rewards that can be meaningful and make an impact for executives?
Speaker_2: 05:31 Well, and then again, this takes a bunch of different flavors. It can mean something is as small as a congratulations card on the desk to, hey, you know what? We’re going to reward you some additional stock options in the company’s stock as an additional incentive because we really appreciate what you have done. Let’s make sure we keep doing that.
Speaker_1: 05:55 Right, it’s not in their compensation package, it’s a surprise. It’s out of the blue.
Speaker_2: 06:00 It should be considered a reward, something that someone doesn’t expect but receives it in a very genuine way, again as a thank you in recognition of something that they’ve done and done really well. Again, whether that’s, hey, they took on the leadership of a business unit that was struggling and they turned it around, and for that here’s what we’re going to do for you.
Speaker_1: 06:22 Yeah, and I’ve heard it anywhere from buying that executive weekend getaway at a resort or even just taking the executive and his or her spouse out to dinner and just having good conversation. I mean, it doesn’t have to be super expensive. It’s more about the recognition like we said.
Speaker_2: 06:48 And don’t forget about the recognition of that executive might mean that they’re sacrificing family time. So including the spouse on a trip, thanks them for the support on the home front whether it’s again husband or wife, doesn’t matter, but the ability for them to say, Hey, we want to recognize you Steve for a job well done, but you need to take your spouse with you because she supported you when you were able to travel around the country for two straight months to do the project. We need you to do that kind of thing.
Speaker_1: 07:26 Yeah. I think it goes a long way saying, Hey, you know what? Take your spouse, make sure you say thank you and for that, as an example, take your wife and here’s a three-hour spa package specifically for her. And, oh, by the way, we know she likes this wine. So, we bought this make it specific for that significant other spouse.
Speaker_2: 07:48 Find out what that person likes and it just more personal and really adds a lot of value to what you’re rewarding.
Speaker_1: 08:03 So that being said, good segue into work life balance. You know, you work two months straight traveling around the country to close this acquisition or do the road show or whatever it might be. Right. At some point though, you’re going to burn your executive out and you know, candidly it’s something you should look at your entire employee base, but how about work life balance specifically at the executive ranks?
Speaker_2: 08:31 Yeah, I think what we want to make sure that companies are thinking about is executives are being asked to do more with less every day and so as we give different benefits and different flexibility to the, the staff at the company, Hey, we’re going to work half day Fridays. On Fridays as recognition that the summers are short depending on where you live in the country. Like us in Minnesota, our summers are about three months long, so having Friday half-days is a, is a big deal. So, don’t forget your executives are really working around the clock in some cases to make sure that they’re okay with taking off and playing golf one afternoon. Set those expectations that the executives have that same flexibility. All be it they have a lot of responsibility. I don’t think we do a good enough job across the board in executive ranks of promoting that. We give it to our employees, but then they don’t take it themselves and so again, we want to watch for that burnout. We don’t watch that fatigue,
Speaker_1: 09:41 Yeah, and I think it’s to even be proactive, every company is going to have kind of their philosophy on work, life balance, but you have an executive and let’s use your example, they were on the road for 10 days straight, doing some road show, reach out to that executive and say, you know what, just work from home the next two days. You’ve earned it. Thanks. Get your stuff done but go play a round golf on me or something like that. Right. It kind of goes into the rewards component. Yeah.
Speaker_2: 10:12 Yeah, again it’s just recognizing that the executives typically don’t have work life balance in a lot of cases at a lot of companies and so again, if we’re promoting it for our employees as a whole, as a good thing, why isn’t it a good thing for our executives?
Speaker_1: 10:30 Yeah, how about executives that have kids in sports in high school or youth sports or they’re involved in whatever activities they are, what recommendations do you give to boards or business owners, CEOs to say, you know what go and what’s the importance of attending those things and how do you balance that?
Speaker_2: 10:55 Well, I think it’s critical that the executives know they can go do that because I believe at the end of the day, the executives know that what they’re responsible for and what they need to deliver in terms of, of work product and or projects, whatever they might be working on. And so just because they leave at three o’clock to go to a track and field meet doesn’t mean they’re not coming back and finishing what they needed to, or they’re working from home until 10 o’clock that night. So I think, again, building that flexibility, the expectation of, Hey, just because I’m walking out the door at three doesn’t mean I’m not getting my work done. And it just gets back to that flexibility in today’s lifestyle and I think all too often, and companies are getting better at this, that the executive, whoever that is, and the family husband or wife tends to miss all those kids’ events. And the next thing you know, they’re 18 years old, they’re off to college and you don’t even know who your kids
Speaker_1: 11:58 Yeah. A company that I have a ton of respect for, they have a corporate policy that their entire executive leadership team, they are not allowed to send an email or respond to an email after 6:30pm. Wow. Yeah. I mean that’s unique. Yeah. I mean, so some companies have really done something more aggressive like that.
Speaker_2: 12:20 Can you imagine the executives at 6:35pm looking at their email inbox, they want to respond, and they can’t.
Speaker_1: 12:36 And it’s not like they get disciplined if they do, but they’ll get called out in a meeting saying, listen, don’t do it. We’ve got a philosophy of work life balance. Alright, well that’ll wrap up this podcast and next week we’ll be talking about communication, specifically ongoing feedback to your executive team and then we’ll also dive into kind of onboarding from a retention standpoint, meaning 30, 60, 90 days in 3, 6, 12 months in, how do you provide a game plan so they feel like they’re almost think of that as keeping them onboard. So, we’ll dive into that one next week, but in the interim, if you need to get ahold of Mr. Peterson, look him up on or seek him out on LinkedIn. And as always, you can subscribe to our podcast on most of the major podcast channels, Apple Podcast, Google podcast, Spotify, iHeart Radio.
Speaker_1: 13:41 That will be a wrap on this week and we’ll see you soon Mr. Peterson.
Speaker_2: 13:54 Signing off for this week. Officially signing off.

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