Salary raises are not the only way to prevent the exit of your top performers

Employees come and employees go, naturally, but there are certain workers you never want to see leave because of the value they add to your business. Such great workers are not commonplace, so it is not unusual for you to want to keep them at any cost. But your operational budget is limited and there is only so much you can spend on staffing without running your business into the ground. These five tips will help you retain your best staff without throwing cash you don’t have at them.


1. Give your employees some freedom.

Allow staff do whatever they like? No, not exactly. Here’s the logic: Some employees have skills that transcend their roles in your business and they would love to use those skills. Giving such staff the freedom to contribute beyond their job description and compensating them for such contributions will increase their sense of value to your business and might even create new roles for them.

2. Help them do their best work.

Employees will tell you that not having the tools and resources to do a good job is very frustrating. Is your business set up to get the best out of your staff? Is your work environment ideal? Do your employees have access to aids for self-improvement? For example, an employee who is constantly struggling to meet deadlines on an ancient computer will soon leave your employment for a job that promises him a new laptop. If you’re too much of a cheapskate to upgrade your workers’ tools, think of how much you will lose if they decide to work for your competitors.

3. Provide useful supervision.

No, this is not about micromanaging. We are absolutely against that. Instead of breathing down your employees’ necks, develop a transparent system of supervision that covers:

  • What you expect from them as your staff.
  • How you will provide feedback on their performance.
  • How their performance will be judged and the rewards for outstanding performance.
  • Opportunities for mentorship.

With that sort of system in place, employees won’t wonder if they are making progress in their career or not.

4. Let them speak and listen when they do.

Everyone likes to know that they matter, and one easy way of showing employees that they are respected is giving them room to express their feelings. Fear is not a healthy motivator, so terrorising your staff into submissive silence only means they will bottle things up and leave your organisation as soon as they can. Instead, encourage staff to approach management whenever they have concerns. You may not be able to please every employee but they will all get the satisfaction that comes with being heard.

5. Don’t kill them with work.

There’s a temptation to give your most outstanding employees as much work as you can because you know they’ll do a good job but there’s no wisdom in that. People quit every day because they are overworked, and even when they don’t quit, there’s the high possibility that they will burn out and become useless to your business. Give your employees room to breathe, limit work to working hours and give them a break on weekends. Establishing a culture that priorities the mental and physical health of your staff over revenue will inspire loyalty and set your business apart.


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