What Makes Star Employees Stay?
Today we address a question that is a key issue in the corporate world: “What can you do to retain your star employees?” We’re talking about those diligent ones who perform even amid changing circumstances, the ones who are passionate and persevering, the ones whom others love and are proud of working with, the ones who are leaders even before they are given that title. These employees are hard to find and even harder to keep. So, what can you do to make such highly in-demand star employees stick with your company? Here’s our list of the top five factors that influence their retention.
Give your star employees a sense of purpose. People find purpose in being a part of something that is meaningful and bigger than themselves. When you give your employees a reason to truly believe in your company’s vision and mission, it becomes a motivational driving force behind all their tasks, even the ones that are seemingly mundane. One study by LinkedIn shows that employees with a strong sense of purpose are more involved or engaged, have higher levels of fulfillment, and perform better than their colleagues who lack a sense of purpose. Another study shows that 69 percent of employees would not quit their jobs within the first six months if they had a strong sense of purpose. Yet another study says that 9 out of 10 people would be willing to earn less money for doing more meaningful work.
When your star employees enjoy a sense of purpose, it radiates into their interactions with the company, their peers, and the customers. Purpose gives them something to desire beyond the paycheck.
Ensure that your star employees are surrounded by people with similar values to interact with, compete with, lead, and excel together. Employees spend 6-8 hours at work each day on average. That’s a huge portion of one’s life to be spent with people you don’t like. Star employees find it motivating to work with people they can look up to and learn from, people they can trust and lead, people who come together around a shared vision and are committed to each other. Meaningful relationships with people at work become one more reason your star employees enjoy coming back to work each day.
One of the deepest human needs is to be heard, seen, valued, and appreciated. If your star employee is not made to feel that way at work, they will eventually resign and move to a company where they feel more validated.
Compensation is the one factor that tells your star employees how much they matter to you. What most people miss is that compensation is not only monetary. Here is a checklist of all that compensation entails:
- Is your compensation better than the industry standard or what your competitors can offer? Consider the age of your company, geographic location, industry standards, etc., as you answer this question. You can also offer your star employees options to participate in and benefit from the firm’s growth.
- Create a salary structure that defines the lower and upper limit for each role. This creates transparency and ensures that you do not go overboard while trying to make someone stay.
- Have clearly defined roles and responsibilities across the company. Write down the skills, experience, or certifications needed. This makes it easy for you to decide on a fair compensation package while letting your employees see why they are paid what they are paid, eliminating any comparisons.
- Assess and highlight your non-monetary rewards from time to time. Sometimes giving star employees that well-deserved time off from work is what they need to rejuvenate and bounce back with renewed vigor.
Encourage periodic time off, rewards, and recognition. An unbeatable compensation package is made up of components that are priceless in addition to a fair pay structure.
Leaders matter. Their visions, value systems, beliefs, attitudes, goals, abilities to give and receive feedback — all of it makes a difference to your star employees. Good leaders make sure their people grow with the organization. They create a safe place for top performers to learn new things, experiment, and advance in their careers. A deep sense of community is also fostered by inspiring leaders. Employees speak up, bring their ideas to the table, have each other’s backs, and feel a sense of belonging when nurtured by thoughtful minds.
When you have leaders who have motivations beyond self-interest, your star employees are likely to grow loyal to them and partake in their goals or visions.
Performers are driven by the motivation to solve challenges. Without it, they start to feel like they do not have enough opportunities to highlight or enhance their skills or expertise in their job. A sense of redundancy sets in. There are things you can intentionally do to ensure your star employees are engaged and challenged. Share the top challenges you are trying to solve with them. Help them set their goals by giving them opportunities to define their own responsibilities, so they can pick up what they like to do and do it with all their heart. Give and invite feedback — detailed, useful, and understandable feedback. Appreciate their accomplishments, big or small.
Give your top performers variety in the assignments or projects they work on. Break their goals into measurable short-term goals. As they achieve smaller milestones, a feeling of accomplishment and hunger for more will arise.
Still in doubt about whether these factors can make your star employees stay? Ask them — and not just when they are about to leave the company. Have open conversations with your employees frequently, starting right from the moment you are thinking about hiring them. A person can be great professionally and still not fit in with your company values or your work culture.