Establishing an Employee Retention Strategy

Don’t misinterpret your most successful, driven employees as your most loyal. Over 25% of employees are currently at high risk for turnover.

More than one third of those are individuals who show high potential in their positions, exceeding performance expectations. The lesson to employers? Your top performing team members may be at the highest risk of leaving your company

Though maintaining all employees is ideal, the loss of high performing executives represents the biggest threat to your business. After all, losing a key executive can lead to a loss of up to 213% of that person’s annual salary.

Succession planning can minimize the fallout from losing an executive, but the best thing you can do is to form a retention plan, from the moment you start hiring key talent. Improving retention requires a close consideration of the needs of each employee.

Follow these steps to establish an employee retention strategy that protects you financially, and entices your most important key executives to stay around.

Step 1: Create the Right Company Culture

Executive employees thrive when their company culture supports them on the path to their goals. Roughly one third of new hires abandon their jobs after six months, so hire selectively from the beginning. Your best employees will be those who share the values and visions of the organization.

When choosing executives for key roles, consider things like attitude, integrity, and diligence. Finding employees that are perfectly suited to your company fosters a culture of dedicated and satisfied workers. It will also give you the chance to pinpoint the signs of a job-hopper early on — before that executive has the potential to damage your business growth.

Step 2: Offer Competitive Benefits to Executives

The right executives allow your company to achieve major goals, but when budgets are tight and funds are low, it’s tough to appeal to the right people for the job. Small businesses and nonprofits struggle to compete with larger corporations when it comes to salaries, but salary isn’t the only way to draw in a candidate. You can offer comprehensive benefits packages that are just as attractive as a large paycheck.

Packages that provide access to life insurance, retirement plans, and medical resources remove some of the pressures executives may face in other positions. An efficient 457(f) plan can offer enough security and comfort to convince an employee to stay in a lower-paying position. These plans are especially helpful for employers looking to improve flexibility and manage tight budgets.

Step 3: Provide Guidance and Support

Providing regular performance feedback goes a long way towards fostering employee commitment and retention. When employees feel confused about their roles in the organization, they may feel disconnected from the business as a whole — making them more likely to seek other opportunities.

Giving guidance and support not only makes employees more confident in their positions, but this kind of open communication can also create a sense of community and shared focus among your whole team. Listen to your key team members to understand what makes them feel happy and fulfilled at work. Ensure that managers and executives maintain good relationships with each other, and with their subordinates. When people quit or resign from a position, they’re more often leaving their managers than renouncing the job itself.

Step 4: Engage Employees with Opportunities for Growth

Employee engagement has an amazing impact on retention rates. As a leader, you can play a large role in showing your staff that there are opportunities for them to grow within the company — and supporting them in that growth.

Organizations should focus on promoting from within whenever possible, as this creates a forward-looking path for all employees, in terms of their professional development. Don’t forget to give attention to those at the top of the ladder, as well. Even the highest-end executives should have chances to expand their positions within the company, through continued education and training.

You can even give executives a chance to share their knowledge and experience in the field, by setting up a program for senior employees to mentor other employees.

Step 5: Respect and Reward Your Employees

Above all else — above performance feedback, salaries, benefits packages, and mentorship — it’s essential that your employees feel valued. Compensation and benefits can go a long way towards providing this sense of respect; make sure you back that up with praise and recognition, especially for key executives. This should be an integral part of the culture you carefully design for your organization. Simply saying thank you and commending an employee for a job well done can foster a greater sense of job satisfaction. Listening to executives, and using or responding to their ideas makes them feel valuable.

From after-work events and team-building retreats, to simple company meetings where you give exceptional employees a pat on the back, make an effort to establish routines that show how much you value and respect your staff.

You already know that your executives are at the core of your organization’s success — don’t forget to let them know regularly how much that’s appreciated.