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Employee Retention Strategies: How to Keep Your Best People From Leaving

By Paul Eze


Getting top quality employees can be tough but your ability to retain those few very talented people in times of fierce competition is what will give you an edge over your contenders in the market.

Reasons You May Lose Your Best People

Has one of your key staff members recently dropped the resignation letter on your desk? Are you in danger of losing your best hands or already losing them in droves? Here are a few reasons you may be losing your top performers:

–          They attract attention and are poached by bigger or cash laden new competitors

–          They no longer enjoy working with you

–          They decide to start on their own

If your employee is leaving because he got a better and more prestigious offer from a competitor there might not be much that you can do about it. The focus here is to make sure you don’t lose your star worker through a fault of yours.

Good management skills and a keen eye for issues concerning your staff are relevant to keeping them loyal and in the long term helping you build a great company. Here are 5 ways you can keep hold of your valued team members:

1. Maintain Clear Communication Channels

Nothing makes employees feel undervalued than zero or too little communication. Communicate regularly with team members using emails, phones and face to face talks. This means reaching out to them on both good and bad news. Effective communication should be a two way thing. It makes for less trust between you and your staff if you only dish out memos, speeches and instructions with no clear means of getting necessary feedback from your staff. Make it clear that employees are free to reach out to management through formal channels on any issues, suggestions and ideas they might have concerning their work and the general state of the organization. This will build a feeling of trust and value in your employees and make them more likely to stick with your company.

2. Grow a Culture of Respect

A workplace of mutual respect between management and the staff always allows for ease of work and good working relationships. An employee who does not feel respected and gets talked down to often will not give their best work and is more likely to leave.

3. Use Their Strengths

Recognising your employees’ potential and placing them in positions where this potential will be fully realized is important if you are to build a motivated workforce. Avoid making workplace transfers and switches just for the sake of doing them as you may risk putting some of your people in areas where they either have no passion or do not want to work. Using feedback and regular questions find out where each person does their best and most enthusiastic work and keep them there.

4. Set Clear Goals and Expectations

Intelligent and smart people always want to have goals they are working towards and your team members will be no different. Having set goals and expectations clearly spelt out for your team makes for more cohesion and less knee jerk work. Discuss with members of your team to have a common idea of what and where everyone is working towards. This will make for a greater sense of loyalty and mutual growth that most teams need for greater success with their work.

5. Acknowledge, Appreciate and Reward

Nobody enjoys working without appreciation and rewards. Many business owners presume rewards just mean more money, but there are several ways to acknowledge your peoples’ great work and reward them without breaking the bank. While raises and bonuses are always factors in motivating and rewarding stellar employees, you can still add creative ways to reward and appreciate your staff. Some ideas used by employers to reward and motivate their best people periodically include;

–          Handwritten thank you notes

–          Monthly or quarterly star employee awards (in form of a plaque and affordable rewards that the employee values highly)

–          A gift for the child of the employee

–          Paid vacations

–           Send them birthday cards and presents, or better still, hold a private company birthday party for employees on their birthdays

–          Tickets to quality, scarce concerts and events the employee would love to attend

–          Buy a book of their favourite author

–          Allow them choose a day or two to work from home (depends on the nature of their job)

–          Give a 1 year subscription to their favorite magazine

–          Give them a new improved job title

–          Hold annual company award dinners and honour star performers during the dinner

–          Sponsor them to valuable training programmes and workshops

You can come up with more ideas by asking your employees what they would love to be rewarded with for star performance periodically.

Clearly keeping your best people will not only create a stable organization but will mean that you spend less time trying to hire replacements and more time building the company of your dreams.


Paul Eze is the Co-Founder and Vice President of Ngcareers a top job search and employment site in Nigeria that gives thousands of employers a cost effective platform to advertise their job openings and reach the right prospective candidates. Follow him on Twitter @paulemekaeze

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Joy Ehonwa

Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at]

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