How to retain high performers

Why do employees leave?

Generally, the motivation for leaving companies generally falls into very specific categories: discontentment, imbalance, life changes or setting their sight on something better than a current employer can provide.

Understanding why employees leave is much easier than understanding why employees stay with a company. Most would credit company culture as the “thing” that retains an employee. And while culture and atmosphere are important, neither tap into the underlying motivation for why high performers stick with an organization over long periods of time. Company culture matters, but there are specific elements of a company culture that matter most.

Use these tips to evaluate and enhance your company culture. Integrate these elements so that your most valuable employee feels so connected and engrained in your organization that the idea of parting with the company seems irrational.

Communicate and live by your mission statement daily

Is your company mission statement more than words on a new hire handbook? Is your mission statement ingrained into the way employees think and operate in their day-to-day roles? If not, you’ve got a much bigger problem on your hands.

As people, we all want to be part of something bigger. We all want to see beyond tactical objectives and contribute to the greater good. The same goes for our perspective on work. Being connected to the greater mission matters. Employees are more likely to stay with a company when they are connected to the why behind the work. That connection allows individuals to clearly see how their individual role contributes to the overall success of the organization.

Whether in a large corporate environment or a small startup company, employees can easily see themselves as a cog in a machine. That disconnect can quickly trigger disengagement and discontentment, and that’s where companies begin to lose even the best of its talent pool. But don’t panic, that disconnect can be overcome.

What can you do?

  1. Integrate your company’s mission into more than new hire orientation or the annual review.
  2. Make the company mission visible in high traffic areas of your company office and company website. Visual reinforcement brings subtle reminders that stick overtime.
  3. Avoid making assumptions. Clearly communicate to individual employees how their specific role, whether that’s as a developer, designer, decision-maker or administrator, contributes to the company achieving its mission.

Provide opportunities for employees to grow and feel challenged

High performers will eventually stall out and become disengaged without new opportunities for growth and challenge. The very best of your employee base will become frustrated and look elsewhere is they begin to plateau in their current role. As leader, your job is to make sure that doesn’t happen.

What can you do?

  1. Find opportunities for vertical and horizontal growth.
  2. Map growth opportunities for employees so that each individual can visualize their journey with the company.
  3. Create avenues for employees to learn new skills, both hard and soft.
  4. Cultivate an environment where new ideas and better ways of thinking are welcomed and embraced.

Remember the little and big things matter

You can’t communicate your company’s mission, yet neglect living it out. You won’t be able to retain top talent with a world-class benefits package, if you overlook the need for continuous growth. The big parts of business matter, but the little parts matter just as much. Doing one without the other will still cause you to lose your very best employees.

The process of retaining talent may sound simple, but implementing it is more complex than many realize. Not to worry – we are here to help. Let’s get a conversation started, so that you can begin focusing less on recruitment and more retention.

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