The cost to replace a top performing employee for a business is enormous. Loss of productivity is another key reason you want to do everything you can to retain your best performers.
I spoke with psychologist Judith Kolomeir who sees a lot of clients with issues related to the workplace. I asked her what she thought were the most important factors to consider keeping employees motivated and engaged with the company. We came to an agreement on these five things.
- Good pay and benefits. While many studies say that this is not high on the list of what motivates people to stay with a company, you can be sure that if someone is offered a lot better for the same work, they will be highly enticed to leave. In fact, just this week a small business owner was telling me about a manager who left his company to go and work for a large firm that offered a package he just could not match. Make sure you can offer competitive salaries and benefits if you want to keep your best people.
- Interesting and challenging work. Your top employees want to use their skills and be engaged with their work. So, make sure you give people work that will utilize their strengths and skills. Challenge them to solve problems and contribute ideas for improving the work they do.
- Flexible schedule or working arrangement. People need time to deal with family and personal issues. Parents with young children have a lot on their hands and appreciate having flexible working conditions. This can offset salary discrepancies in some cases.
- Opportunity for advancement. People want to know that they can grow with the company and have the chance to take on more responsibility and get better pay, benefits and recognition. This can also be investment in skill development and training programs that are tailored to the employee for personal development.
- Good working environment. This means have the right tools and support to do the job, but also creating a team environment where people build solid working relationships with their team members. Strong relationships are hard to leave.
There are many other items that you might think of to retain your top performers. The best approach is to hold regular meetings with each employee that reports to you directly. Have a conversation with them. Ask questions such as, how do you feel about your job right now? What is important to you for the future? How well do you feel the company can meet your longer-term career expectations?
If every manager in the company does this you will then have the pulse of your employee satisfaction. Act and lead by example.
It’s your job as a business owner and leader to make sure people are satisfied with their job, working conditions and the company if you want to retain your top performers. Be pro-active!