How to Keep Great Employees from Quitting — 5 Tips

Recruiting top talent represents one of the biggest challenges corporations face, as well as the biggest up-front investment. Keeping the great talent you have is therefore the ultimate goal. Yet, a recent study reveals that one-third of nearly 10,000 respondents in 8 countries are struggling with whether or not to leave their jobs. So, the question is not if you’ll lose some of your best employees, but when.

Here are the top five ways you can keep great employees from sending out resumes:

1) Pay employees what they’re worth.
The number one reason employees leave is a disparity between how much their pay has increased in recent years, and how much their cost of living has increased. Provide plenty of opportunities for raises, bonuses, and value-added incentives like on-site day care, car allowances, and other programs that effectively reduce that disparity. Even if a big raise isn’t in the budget this year, there are ways you can show employees that you value their contribution and recognize their efforts.

2) Provide advancement opportunities.
At the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is the need for Self-Actualization. Top-flight employees want and need to have growth opportunities. They will not stay very long where they don’t feel challenged and where they don’t feel their bosses take their development seriously.
Ignoring low maintenance employees is also a mistake. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because someone appears to be self-reliant they don’t need or want feedback and coaching. In my work with top performers, I frequently hear that these folks feel guilty taking up their boss’s time. Therefore, they often don’t ask. You will need to reach out to them.

3) Focus on efficiency, not overtime.
Third on the list of reasons great employees quit is that they’re consistently working more than 40 hours a week. That tips the balance toward an unhealthy organizational culture, and leaves employees having to juggle work and family obligations. When you force workers into choosing between having a life and a career, they will nearly all choose having a life eventually. Instead of stretching team members thin, ask for their input into best practices that encourage efficiency and productivity (see 4 and 5).

4) Encourage teamwork.
Full-time employees need a social aspect to their daily grind that also contributes to their feelings of professional fulfillment. That’s where building a team-based culture can work wonders. Human beings are social, collaborative creatures with a competitive drive. Foster a dynamic and fulfilling team culture, and you’ll notice an increase in productivity, efficiency, and morale.

5) Allow flexible work schedules.
Employees are facing more responsibilities at work, and at home. They need a more flexible work schedule than a traditional business day allows. That means that more than ever, employees are working compressed work weeks, and they’re telecommuting and proving that it can be done well.

Make the switch to flexible schedules without reservation, because workers are wise to the backhanded tactics some companies use to discourage use of the flex schedule options. That conveys a clear message that the company is dishonest and doesn’t trust employees to be honest with their time spent working from home. Just remember: autonomy is often the catalyst that propels good employees into greatness.

Jim Collins, the author of “Good to Great,” found that the best leaders are known for “getting the right people on the bus.” He didn’t mention that the tougher challenge is keeping them on the bus. The hope is that these five steps will help you do just that.

Carl Robinson, Ph.D.,

Managing Principal, Advanced Leadership Consulting

carl @

We help maximize the effectiveness of individuals and organizations by helping them improve their ability to lead, work together, select and develop their people.

Carl is a business psychologist and leadership development expert who focuses on the development of high performance leaders.

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