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Keeping the Top Performers

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How to Retain your Best Employees


Every organization needs passionate and committed employees to achieve their goals and achieve success. A+ employees are rare to find and therefore ensuring that they feel appreciated and know they are a valued member of the organization is paramount. They should be kept motivated to keep them at optimal performance.

Money can be less important to engaged workers contrary to what most managers believe. Research has constantly shown that most people leave their workplaces because of either lack of growth opportunities, company culture, or issues with management.  A study by Robert Half revealed that about 39% of top performers leave their jobs primarily because of a lack of opportunities for growth.  23% leave because of their dissatisfaction with management and almost 17% because of no recognition or appreciation towards the work they do.

Top performers typically invest a lot of time in their work and therefore, they expect to derive a lot of satisfaction and fulfillment from their jobs. If they feel ‘stuck’ or unappreciated, then there are more likely to go looking for better opportunities outside the organization.  It’s the “grass is greener” syndrome.

So when your top-performing employees start missing deadlines, or they start using up their allotted days off, or you see a sudden change in attitude, it’s may be too late to address what has gone wrong.  More than likely they have already begun looking for external opportunities, and once someone engages in a job search, they usually keep looking until they find it.

The best piece of advice is to take preemptive measures that can prevent your organization from losing valued employees.  Meet one-on-one with your talent on a regular basis.  Inquire directly about their satisfaction level and ask what can be done to keep them happy.  Finding out about issues will allow you to brainstorm on fixing the outstanding problems, improve their feelings of worth, and work on ways to increase and facilitate ongoing motivation.

Make sure you offer growth opportunities to your best employees.  Top performers want to see that they are growing and that their career isn’t stalling.  Challenging roles and increasing responsibilities lets them feel stretched.  Expanding the job and promoting people to higher titles can be hugely motivational.  The latter can be difficult if the organization has little room in its structure, but you can usually get creative, especially in smaller companies.  Studies have shown that most top performers feel growth by expansion of duties, job rotation and exciting challenges.

If someone has already started looking for a new job, it may be impossible to reverse their decision to leave.  In such cases, the best strategy for an organization will be to begin training within for their replacement or begin a confidential search to replace them smoothly when they leave.  Offering a counteroffer is usually a short-term band-aid that often comes back to bite both the employer and employee in the long run, so I don’t recommend them.  The best plan is a preemptive strategy to retain your employees and there are a number of ways to accomplish this. If you need more tips on retaining your talent or need to begin replacements reach out to us for a consultation.