Three Ways to Prevent Key Employees from Leaving

Julie Shenkman
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Having engaged employees is critical to the success of any organization. If your workers are just counting the seconds until the workday is over, productivity suffers. Your customers and clients may not notice immediately, but eventually a lackluster attitude becomes evident. That's why retaining employees who are an asset to your company is so important. Your key employees are the backbone of your business, and it's essential that they are motivated to stay.

First, make sure that your key employees are meeting their full potential. One of the easiest ways to lose interest in a job is to feel like you could be accomplishing more elsewhere. Nobody wants to feel like they could easily be replaced, so give your essential workers tasks that challenge them. Put them in charge of important projects. Make sure that they realize what's at stake. This gives them a feeling of belonging and makes them feel like they are building something rather than just operating as another cog in the corporate machine.

Second, compensate them fairly. Of course, raising a person's salary is the first thought that comes to mind when retaining employees. Money is undoubtedly an effective way to prevent employee turnover, but it's not the only one. Compensation can come in the form of extra vacation days, free lunches, an office with a view, a company car and so on. Providing a better work environment is one of the best tools for retaining employees who are vital to your company. According to Forbes, 53 percent of staff members would be willing to take a pay cut if they could telecommute in some way. If your key employees have proven their worth, reward them.

Third, make sure that the lines of communication are always open and that the work environment is sustainable. For instance, your essential workers can get frustrated if they spent their weekend finishing a rushed project only to find out that they actually had plenty of time. Retaining employees is impossible if they are working in a jumbled environment that isn't conducive to constructive work. If one of your key employees has a desk right next to someone who talks or plays music all day, move them into a private office. Eliminating seemingly minor annoyances can make all of the difference when it comes to retaining employees, so talk to your staff individually and allow them to express any issues.

The bottom line is that the only way to keep your best workers around is to treat them with the respect that they rightfully deserve. There's no single formula for retaining employees. It all comes down to how they feel about going to work when they wake up in the morning. Give them tasks that meet their skill level, compensate them accordingly, and make their work environment as pleasant as possible.

(Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic at


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