5 Ways to Retain High-Potential Employees


Although economic reports prove that times are tough, “nearly 1 in 3 American workers is seriously considering leaving his or her job, up from 23% six years ago.” (Rooney, Ben. “Half of Workers Unhappy In Their Jobs.” CNNMoney, 11 June 2011.) There are two startling truths about this reality:

  • Many employees are actively seeking other job opportunities, while they are employed and on your clock.
  • This number is dramatically increasing – at a very fast rate.

The fact that economic reports are consistently pessimistic keeps companies complacent. They (inaccurately) assume that because the job market is in the tank, they don’t need to worry about how their employees experience their jobs. This is a faulty approach because good employees will do whatever it takes to find alternative options – even in a bad economy. So, don’t bank on the bad economy to secure your best employees – that’s your responsibility. (Also, FYI – when the economy does regain its strength, your dependence on a bad economy will shut the doors to your own business.)

So, why is this the workplace reality and what are you doing about it?

If you think you’re immune, think again. And if you’re not actively attempting to engage employees in ways that leave them feeling fulfilled, inspired and appreciated… then, you can bet your bottom-line that a good percentage of your current employees fall into this category. Now, although we’d like to think that the employees that are doing this are simply disloyal and dissatisfied people in general – that’s not usually the case. Some of our best and brightest are also among those that have wandering eyes when it comes to wondering if the grass is greener in another organization. This is because these employee Massachusetts have the most potential, and they know it. And if their potential isn’t being utilized, capitalized and maximized – they are going to seek opportunities that make the most of what they have to offer. This means you must strategize to retain your high-potential employees.

What’s the secret to securing and conserving your employees’ commitment?

1. Cover the basics – First things first, ensure that your compensation, benefits’ package, and vacation policies are competitive. Don’t short-change your employees on the basics because this is the bare minimum when it comes to keeping them in the door at all.

2. Find the “extras” employees favor – Conduct interviews, surveys and polls that give you insight into the things your employees want. Although you can read every employee-retention article available, you still can’t succeed unless you understand your employees’ unique needs and wants.

3. Recognition and acknowledgment – Employees need a pat on the back on a regular basis. If you’re afraid that by doing this, you’ll only enhance the egos of those you don’t want to lose, well then, your beliefs are backwards. People want to be (and stay) where they are valued, affirmed and developed. If you fail to give your employees the recognition they deserve, they will walk right into the arms of the first employer that affirms their skills.

4. Promotions, incentives and opportunities – Stagnant career ladders go nowhere, which causes great employees to go elsewhere. High-potential people need to be presented with options that allow them to be stretched and developed. Give them a reason and a way to do better than their best. Promote from within. Give them monetary motives that make sense. Do what you need to do (within reason and budget) to ensure your employees are challenged, rewarded and driven to new levels.

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