Retaining your Best Employees -Big Guns

It is extremely crucial for organizations to retain its best employees as they play significant role in the short and particularly in the long term success of the business. If the employee turnover rate within the organization is high then it impedes the company’s overall performance, therefore making it more complicated for the management to retain the others. It is highly imperative for the management to comprehend the reasons of previous departures so that they can formulate strategies in order to retain the rest of the staff. Employee Retention
Normally, conflict of interests; seeking better career development opportunities, desire to be recognized for their valuable contributions and aspiration for improved salary packages are the grounds for this particular situation. However there might be various other aspects that are involved in employee turnover. Appropriate measures must be taken in order to ensure that employees are being provided with abundant opportunities to grow professionally in terms of their knowledge, skills and abilities (career development). Furthermore, it is imperative to develop a culture where their skills can be utilized efficiently and effectively.
For this reason, regular meetings can help considerably where employees can discuss their work related issues and other reservations, which can facilitate communication regarding their expectations to the management.
Kindly share your opinions on how a company can retain its valuable employees, keeping in mind the company’s financial limitations and organizational hierarchy.


  • As a manger of a restaurant, we experienced very high turnover as a part of the business. At times when we needed the ‘seasoned’ employees the most, they would leave. This is when we learned to have exit interviews upon them leaving their keys or aprons and what not and we learned that appreciation is the key! To be thanked for even the littlest things that were part of that employee’s job, was enough appreciation to keep them boosted up as they were acknowledged for completing the job task.
    Adults are kids at heart and when you bring contests out for prizes, you will be surprised how much a little fun will bring your team together. As a
    Realtor, in my office, we have been going through a team contest. Some members don’t participate, but then the other teammates are backing them up as we come to a close to the contest. The more tasks done, the more points….and it is for a $40 gift cert per top team! Our office is so beautifully decorated now for fall as a result of this ‘silly’ contest. But I tell you, moral is up and agents are coming into the office more!

  • I agree with you Salima, on most of your thoughts though I would like to add the following.
    It is not only the pay that provided the job satisfaction for employees. It is the work environment and the personal enrichment that the job provides. If you have employees who only weigh the pay factor, then your organization as a whole is surely headed downhill since sooner or later these folks are going to abandon it for a few dollars more!
    Now another subtle aspect is the credibility and transparency of its leaders, acting as models for future career of the employees up the career ladder. If they fail to engage the employees with the vision and credible actions that endorse their internal speeches than it is another sign of trouble ahead.
    Also the very special circumstance of recent recession can really show how much they are ready to spend money and efforts to result in a win-win for employees and organizations. In other words some organizations try to thrive by poaching other organization employees by showing them more money in good times and quickly laying them off in mass in a downturn but in the longer term will be losers, because all they will collect over the time will be a bunch of money minded folks with business competence as a secondary criteria which will slowly erode the organization’s reputation. Also hiring employees all over again for good times is again very expensive proposition in terms of time and effort for both the parties.So the people-building aspect is a long-term game organizations must play seriously.
    So, hiring the best employees makes sense, but also retaining them by giving them good transparent environment, hurdles free ground (processes) for productive work, credible and objective appraisal systems which work both ways (i.e. employees get to provide objective feedback of their managers work from their perspective, evaluated by the higher up Manager) in place without any scope for ego-driven adhoc process silos of biggies in their little dens inside the organizations will work wonders in the long term. But again the vision at the top and its implementation is what really matters!
    Manish Lohar
    Enterprise Architect

  • Salima, It is a very similar discussion I have already had on Linkedin before. Retaining the employees is a very quintessential and continuous process. Make sure the employees are treated well at all times and that they know that they are a valuable and indispensable asset to the organisation and they will be sure to return the respect.
    Always be a good listener and have an open relation with your employee.Put yourself in their place and see what you would do or react if put in similar situations.

  • I heard from several friends of how their employers like to keep them working at their factory in California, U.S.
    Warehouse worker
    He could only work two weeks per month. I think that his employer could lay off from working, but his employer wants to keep him.
    Electric worker
    He works in the factory is kind of very funny. He could work four weeks per month, but one week he could only work two days and next week he could only work three days. I heard from him. He said that his employers apply for him work sharing program offer from California Unemployment [EDD]. His salary is cut off.
    Chief CAD assistant engineer worker
    His salary is 20% off, but his companies pay for him to stay in Las Vegas for three days vacation.
    Fast Food workers and Accounting workers
    Both workers from these two sectors have to take their vacation instead of working. I think that both fast food workers and accounting workers do not need to take their vacation because they need to serve their consumers 24 hours a day to meet their expectation or requirement.
    Electric worker
    He works in the factory is kind of very funny. He could work four weeks per month, but one week he could only work two days and next week he could only work three days. I heard from him. He said that his employers apply for him work sharing program offer from California Unemployment [EDD]. His salary is not cut off.
    Warehouse worker
    He could only work two weeks per month. I think that his employer could lay off from working, but his employer wants to keep him. His salary is not cut off.

  • Hi Salima, the most precious resource in an organization is the Human resource and organization have to make sure that they not only retain the best performing employees but they should train even the non performers to perform optimumly.
    From the start especially when an employee has just joined an organization he/ she should be made to feel confortable and important through a comprehensive induction exercise, like its said the first impression matters.
    Secondly Managers should manage career plans of the employees, it should be remembered that when people join the organization they have their own career ambition and on the other hand organization have their vision, if these do not match then its most likely that the organizaion may lose out on such employees so its advisable that organization should help employees in the management of their careers by providing avenues for career growth, promotion, training and succession, however this should be in line with the overall organization development.
    Thirdly employees need to appreciated and recognised for the effort they put in an organization, this should be done in a comprehensive reward policy with an economy in consideration, for example if an organization introduces awards for the best performers, this will motivate people to work hard, besides they will have a sense of belonging in an organization.
    The organizations if its to retain its best performers then it should a better retirement policy that people look at while working, for example very people in the Uganda public service have remained in the service because of the retirment package.
    Thank you

  • Hi Salima
    I think that your question encompasses the whole HR process.
    Retaining employees begins at the very beginning with good recruitment processes, excellent induction procedures, innovative, approachable and talented leadership, a culture of focusing on what the employee does right and not continuously on what they do wrong, developing a trusting relationship between employer and employee, development opportunities, empowering and motivational solutions.
    However, until you know what is causing your employee turnover or disatisfaction amongst employees, you will never know how you may be able to put it right. Exit interviews, employee engagement surveys and consultative committees can all be a valuable source of information. Be open to receiving criticism and keep an open mind as to potential solutions. Often it doesn’t require a cash injection to keep employees happy just some ‘out of the box’ thinking.
    Hope this helps
    Best regards

  • In this economy, make them feel less afraid. It always startles me that people say that companies are worried about keeping their best employees in an environment in which people are terrified about losing their jobs. I put this down either to power imbalances or to faulty communications.

  • There are 4 motivations for people at work. Money, Career Development, Recognition, Challenge. These need to be balanced – think of a graphic equaliser. Money alone will not retain a good person if, for instance, they are bored or their Manager never gives them positive feedback. Try questioning your people around these four areas – you may find that your organisation is particularly weak at one and then you can address it.

  • The good news is that employee retention and company success go hand in hand. Peak performers want;
    Skill – continuous growth
    Will – compensation & recognition
    Execution – they want to be part of an organization that is recognized as good
    Leadership – they want to work for competent people with good composure, high character, courage and that actually care about their people.
    Below is a link to a blog post about why people choose to follow leaders.

  • Salima
    1. An interesting and challenging career development plan that being tied to a succession plan should be instrumental in creating a strong sense of permanence in those employees with the willingness of growing professionally in a company that is supportive about their professional expectations.
    2. Promoting a culture driven by innovation, in collaborative environments that being technologically enabled and actively supported by senior management commitment will be instrumental in creating a strong sense of purpose around an inspiring vision.
    3. An influential and empowered leadership with the courage and self-determination of motivating, engaging and encouraging to high-performance teams integrated by talented and knowledgeable professionals to transform an inspiring business vision in competitive and innovative products and services.
    4. Encouraging a corporate culture in virtue of which Senior Management offer, encourage and promote true opportunities of empowerment to their most valuable employees when working multidisciplinary in corporate projects where they may display their differentiating skills, outstanding competences, and valuable experiences in an enterprise-wide context.
    5. An excellent initiative for engaging and retaining valuable employees is by developing corporate programs that help to the most valuable employees to avoid burnout by promoting an heathy balance between life and work.
    6. A dinner for two; a week-end in a paradisiac touristic destination, 3 extra-days paid of vacation and/or a fashionable electronic device as an iPod have an enormously positive motivator effect in achieving more enthusiastic supporters, committed employees and motivated professionals. In short, a workplace environment that being encouraged and supported by senior Management, recognize, celebrate and reward employee´s commitment and outstanding performance
    7. When a company communicates systematically to its workforce and involves to their employees in corporate social responsibility projects helpful and relevant to its communities, is creating a favorable framework where most of the employees feel justified pride and satisfaction of working in a prestigious and socially conscious company
    8. Management dominantly applies a managerial style of active and participative collaboration where a knowledge sharing attitude within of a culture driven by innovation and with a clear strategic alignment on which the business “big picture” is coherently and systematically communicated, shared, analyzed and improved have a profound and determinant effect in ensuring employee´s engagement in a highly competitive and uncertain business environment.
    9. Offering a competitive salary and an excellent compensation with frequent adjustments according the job market dynamic helps to create in the relevant employees a positive awareness regarding to the initiatives of a people-conscious company in providing true satisfaction to its employees.
    10. When the company is successful in global markets, have had an illustrious history and its brand is really remarkable and prestigious, its employees will have reasons to feel genuine pride and commitment in being part of such a prestigious company.
    An organisation can be loved by their employees when this organisation excels in developing Employer Brand Management practices to generate workplaces where an employee can feel pride and satisfaction for belonging to an organisation where he/she is considered, respected and recognized.
    The Great Place to Work Institute, has developed practices to improve five cultural dimensions (Credibility, Respect, Fairness, Pride and Camaraderie) to pursuit this purpose
    I am including links to 2 questions, I have posted time ago in Linkedin Answers:
    1. How to Build Successful Teams in the Midst of a Transition?
    2. In what terms initiatives of Employee Engagement can make a difference in times of economic recession?

  • As an employee and an employer I have made sure to acknowledge this simple rule: Pay them what they are worth. One of the things I personally have said and have heard from others is: “Its not fair he made the same as me and I did so much more work”. I dont care how much they hate or love the work or the boss. At the end of the day when they look at what they have made and it was based on what they have accomplished, One of three things will happen 1. they found they did not produce as well as they should have and will not be able to make the standard and decide its not the job for them. They may not think of it in those terms but that is the reality of the situation. Essentially they will trim the fat for you. 2. They are happy with what they did and with the pay and will continue the job indefinately. 3. They realise they are rewarded for their hard work so they work harder and faster trying to earn as much as they possibly can. Now if you can find one of the number 3 type of people they are the ones that will be the most valueable to your company. I have only found one out of 20 or so, they are hard to find but they are out there. If you find one please send him/her my way.

  • Salima, as many of us have stated, is not always about the money, but also you have to add other issues. The Great place to work approach is quiet interesting, mainly because it gives credit to other things not related with hard compensation, such as the organizational culture, values, vision, communication, hierarchy and leadership style.
    There is lot of “soft” issues that don´t mean a huge inversion, and that makes the difference in the battle for retention.

  • Simple in theory: Be the most valuable employer, as they are at being valuable employees. It’s just business, and if one can get a better deal, they go elsewhere.
    What is the best deal? Money, and the freedom of time to use it. Other issues are secondary, except perhaps a basic satisfaction with the job and feeling a sense of mission. But the bottom line is still money and freedom balanced, in my opinion.
    Respectfully, I have seen “business” ask this question for decades, and the answer is to treat your employees like humans with goals and dreams to pay for, just like the owners, instead of machines to milk the last available resource from for the benefit of owners and management.
    Employees SHOULD go for the highest bidder in overall benefit, and the answer is to be that bidder, in cash, benefits, and workplace quality.
    Short of money, which appears limited, I would offer autonomy and encourage the employees to build their own future by contributing to the direction of the company so they have buy-in. But then they should be rewarded as well.
    I think people want to LIVE and BE someone. They don’t really make enough money to live beyond month to month, and they get to BE a servant to the needs of owners and management. As we work to improve the economy, we really have no incentive because our rewards are the same, the carrot is moved forward.
    This is why I am self-employed.
    I believe a large part of the solution to our economic situation is to give employees more of a share, so the company welfare is tied directly into their own through shared ownership, entrepreneurial programs within the company, and so on.
    The real problem, in my opinion, is simply that nobody wants to work FOR the goals and dreams of others, and business for the most part isn’t really helping us meet our own.
    As a self-employed person I don’t make the steady dependable income of an employee. But you know what?
    I feel alive.
    I personally didn’t feel alive, as an employee in most of my jobs. MY mind didn’t matter. Just any mind to process procedures procedurarly, and to file TPS reports.
    So my answer is that in the workplace, and through pay, the best thing you can do is help people LIVE–to truly be alive in what they do, and not be just cows to milk. If cows are what business really wants, and I don’t believe this is in their best interest, then it will be cows they get.
    Help them be alive: Foster individual contribution and reward them for it.
    Thanks for asking!

  • Your company should start Pay per performance rewards to sustain employees
    1. You can give individual rewards each employee if they help company through their performance.
    2. You can send these employees through business class travel when they achieve big targets.
    3. You can send them luxury tours with their family at least once in a month.
    4. You must give rewards to right person only. If you give rewards to wrong person then you may loose many quality peoples soon.
    5. If your companies Manager’s Executive achieved the target that time, Executive only should get reward.
    6. This way you can give rewards individually then they will work hard and come with various new ideas to build your business.
    7. Do not forget your companies every individual team member have capacity to bring innovative Ideas which can change your company’s business.
    8. You must have brainstorming session every week in company auditorium.

  • Hi Salima,
    You have received a lot of great answers and HR concepts and theories… But I feel sometimes the solution to a very complex issue is a very simple one.
    As we know that human beings are the most unpredictable and unique creatures, we should not try for a ‘One size fits all’ approach. I propose asking the Talent itself what he would like the organisation to do for him/her. Am assuming that your best employees will be probably 25-30% of your total employee base and so giving a personalised solution should not be difficult at all. I am currently conducting a similar approach in my organisation and it is amazing to know that every Talent wants a different and unique investment. And we as an organisation are more than happy to put in the extra efforts for these star employees. I strongly feel that we cannot have a generic solution for the entire organisation and hope to cover all our Top employee needs with that.
    Best Regards

Leave a Reply