• Mar 13 2024

7 Proven Strategies to Retain your Best Employees

The prospect of losing a top-performing employee is enough to keep any manager awake at night. Not only are the financial impacts of replacing an employee steep (up to 150% of an employee’s annual salary*), the departure of a high-performing team member can have long-lasting ripple effects on team motivation and morale. 

If you sense your business is at risk of losing top talent, you must act quickly to shore up your employee retention strategies. In today’s tight talent market, high-performers are looking beyond compensation and perks when considering their employment prospects. Increasingly, studies have shown that employees–especially Millennial and Gen Z employees–look for jobs that offer stability, opportunities for professional development, and company values that match their own. 

Here are seven strategies to help you foster a workplace where your best employees choose to stay, grow alongside you, and contribute to the company’s success.

1. Nurture both high performers & high potentials

High performers are the backbone of your current success delivering strong results today, while high-potential employees demonstrate the initiative and skills required to take on leadership roles in the future. By tailoring leadership development opportunities for both, you build a diverse, resilient talent pool that drives innovation, reduces turnover, and ensures your organization thrives in the long run.

2. Create purpose & belonging

Today’s emerging talent seek organizations where they feel valued and understand how their daily work has an impact on broader organizational goals. However, it’s easy for employees to lose sight of the greater meaning of their role in the daily grind of hitting short-term goals and tackling growing to-do lists. Leaders should continuously help their teams make the connection between their work and the greater company mission. Group coaching can facilitate deeper conversations about team goals, challenges, and strengths fostering a deeper sense of purpose and team cohesion.

3. Celebrate their impact & fuel their passion

Regular recognition and appreciation ensures your top employees know they matter! Recognition can come in many forms, including simple ‘thank you’ notes, formal recognition programs, or tailored rewards aligned to individual preferences. Remember, genuine appreciation, coupled with a clear understanding of how their work impacts the bigger picture, fuels passion, motivation, and loyalty – the hallmarks of a thriving talent pool.

4. Invest in their career, not just skills

Sure, skill-based training keeps employees up-to-date. But true investment unlocks clear paths to advancement and leadership opportunities that top talent seeks. Providing personalized development opportunities tailored to their aspirations and the company’s future needs ensures a future pipeline of capable leaders who deeply understand your business to drive its long-term success. Investing in their future success and promoting from within helps top employees feel they’re valued and a crucial part of the company’s success

5. Offer flexibility beyond remote work

Today’s top talent craves true autonomy and trust. Give them the freedom to shape their schedules to suit their lives, and champion their pursuits outside the office. A happy, well-rounded employee is a loyal one. Invest in their well-being with wellness programs, mental health support, and resources that foster a healthy work-life balance. It’s not just the perk du jour; it’s an investment in their future and yours.

6. Keep investing in your manager bench

The adage holds true: people don’t leave companies, they leave managers. Employees are often promoted into managerial positions because they’re good at their day jobs, and not necessarily because they have the skills to lead. Don’t let your talent pipeline leak at the seams due to under-equipped leaders. 

Continue to invest in your frontline and middle managers. By developing not just your high potentials, but also the managers who guide them, you create a synergistic talent pipeline. Empowered managers become talent champions, attracting, engaging, and retaining your future leaders. This investment ensures not just individual growth, but the long-term success of your entire organization.

7. Seek feedback & stay relevant

Regularly gather feedback from employees and adapt to changing needs and marketplace trends. What works today may not work in a year. By actively listening and adapting to changing needs, you’ll keep your talent strategies fresh and your top performers engaged.

*Based on ExecOnline analysis of data from Gallup, US Social Security Administration, and US Bureau of Labor Statistics

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