8 Ways to Retain Top Employees

Human resources professionals and employers often get advice on how to attract and hire the best candidates. But what about keeping your best employees after they’re hired? Employee retention is good for business: it reduces a company’s overall recruiting, hiring and training costs, improves employee morale, and can even boost customers’ perception of your firm.

In a robust economy, top performers can more easily find new positions that fulfill their needs, wants and goals. Fortunately, remaining the employer of choice for these great employees isn’t that difficult once you understand what motivates employees to perform and be in it for the long-haul.

If you’re interested in keeping more of your best employees, try these eight simple ideas:

  1. Reward their efforts: Your top employees need to know their efforts are appreciated – or they will quickly become disillusioned. When they perform well, reward them for their hard work. When they fail, remind them of their wins. Be sure that your praise is sincere and delivered in a way that respects the employee’s comfort level (some prefer not to be the center of attention).
  2. Empower employees to make a difference: Give top performers the chance to reach a little further and make a real difference in your organization. Encourage them to take on new responsibilities, and empower them with the tools – including training – they will need to be successful.
  3. Keep providing challenges: The best workers love a good challenge, whether it’s analyzing data or solving a problem. If you create a culture in which outstanding employees are constantly challenged to reach higher and do better, they will never get bored and look elsewhere for the challenges they seek.
  4. Avoid overworking employees: Great leaders motivate their employees to do well and be productive without overworking them. Burnout is not healthy for people or businesses; on the contrary, it is damaging to morale and counterproductive. If you do need to increase a top performer’s workload, make it more palatable with a promotion, a raise or a new title.
  5. Allow them to pursue their passions: Employees who are at the top of their game are typically very passionate about what they do. When given the freedom to pursue their passions, they will produce more and be happier. Don’t ask passionate people to think and work inside the box.
  6. Communicate what’s important: Keep top staffers engaged by balancing the amount of information you communicate. Not every detail of every problem needs to be shared, particularly when employees don’t feel they have the power to change anything. Too much information can be frustrating.
  7. Provide opportunities for employee development: Top employees will take full advantage of any opportunities provided to develop their skills. Whether you assign a mentor to provide guidance or simply offer constructive feedback on a regular basis, you’ll increase their engagement with the company and satisfaction with their work.
  8. Create pathways for growth: Feeling “stuck” in a position without hope for advancement is not usually acceptable to top employees. They want to know that they have a future in your company and that their hard work will lead to increasing levels of responsibility and professional growth. Be sure to offer a career plan that maps out how to reach the milestones they seek.

Keep Top Employees and Boost the Bottom Line

When employees are not appreciated, empowered or given opportunities to develop their talents; when they can’t pursue their passions or see a path for advancement; when they are overworked, uninspired or know too much, they can become disgruntled and disengaged from their jobs. But employers who work hard to engage and inspire their best employees will be rewarded with higher productivity, more loyalty, a positive work environment and a stronger bottom line. Retaining top workers is worth every effort!

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