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Retaining Star Players

(April 2006) posted on Mon Apr 24, 2006

How to keep your best employees.


By Marty McGhie

You've done a great job of hiring the right employee, and you
have spent a significant amount of time and money in training.
Now, one or two years into the job, however, your up-and-coming
star employee decides to leave your company to work
for someone else.

One common misconception among employers is that the
most important aspect of any top employee's job is making the
most money possible. If you
believe that, however, you
will constantly find yourself
paying more and more
money to your top employees
in an effort to fend off
the next suitor trying to hire
them away.

In fact, most employee
job-satisfaction surveys
rank compensation around
third or fourth among the
most-important things.
Well, if throwing money around isn't the answer, how then do
you retain your best people?

Your business, their future

In the aforementioned surveys, the most important factor in
determining an employee's job satisfaction typically is that
employee's ability to see a favorable career path in their future.

Plotting out this sort of career path for each top performer,
however, will require an extra effort on your part. Spend time
with your employees to discuss their future with your business.
Ask them where they see themselves in 2 or 3 years.
What about their plans in 5 to 10 years? Don't assume that
they share the same vision for their future with your company
that you do.

Discussing their future can help you in a couple of ways.
First of all, some of your best employees may not realize that
you actually have them in your future plans. They may assume
that management positions are already set, and for them to
continue to progress in their career they will have to eventually
find another job. Here's your opportunity to acknowledge
how much you value their worth to the company.

On the other hand, some of your stars may have definite
plans to do other things in their life"?things that have nothing
to do with your business. Your company may be just a short
stop along the way. In this situation (and if they choose to
share this with you), you may opt to avoid expending valuable
time and money training that employee for a future position.


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