How to Keep Star Employees from Quitting
Every employer wants to hire employees who will be a good fit for the company culture, are aligned with the mission of the company, and are invested long-term, but this can truly be a challenge, especially in today’s employee market.
When a good employee quits, the loss can have a detrimental effect on the person’s team and department and maybe even on the entire company. Not only can an unexpected departure lead to lost revenue, but it also could lower morale and result in increased workloads for remaining employees.
If one of your star employees wants to quit, it’s in your best interest to do everything in your power to ensure he or she stays. When you suspect someone is going to leave, don’t hesitate to take action.
The key is watching and listening for signs of discontent, working with the employee’s manager, and approaching the employee in a timely way to find out what’s going on. With that knowledge in hand, you can then offer solutions and hopefully convince the person to stay and continue to be a productive member of the team.
Here are five actionable steps you can take that may prevent a high-performing employee from quitting.
1. Have a chat
If you or the employee’s manager notices signs that an otherwise good employee may be ready to quit—suddenly he is disengaged, showing up late, taking calls outside, or leaves work at unexpected hours (perhaps for job interviews)—then approach the worker directly to see what’s going on. He might be dealing with personal issues, in which case the employee likely will share the news when asked.
The point is, don’t assume they’re quitting. Just ask if there is a problem or a concern you can help with. During this conversation, you will likely find out more details, such as whether there’s an issue you can help solve. Maybe they just need to be heard. Maybe they have some constructive feedback and they would like you to act on it. Maybe they don’t really want to quit; they just have an issue that can be easily addressed. So, try talking it out first.
2. Show Appreciation
Most workers want to feel valued. You may not be able to prevent them from quitting, but you have a much better shot at retaining them by engaging with them early and often.
Consider regularly thanking employees for their effort and commitment, praising them when they do a good job, and getting to know more about their passions and interests and how they may connect to the company’s purpose.
If you have given a valued employee every opportunity and they still determined that is time for them to grow their career elsewhere, then that is okay. But never lose a star employee because they didn’t feel valued.
3. Offer Support
Related to my first point, employees may want to quit because they feel unsupported. They might take on more work than others on their team, not have the proper tools to complete tasks effectively, or feel like management doesn’t care about their well-being.
When you value employees, you also value their time and energy, so ask them what support you could provide to make their jobs easier and more rewarding. They may need help overcoming obstacles or barriers, from skills training to learning systems that are overly time-consuming or frustrating. You may not be able to solve all their problems, but offering support shows that you hear them, care, and are also invested in getting in a productive workplace.
4. Provide new growth opportunities
“Career growth” ranked the most important of all aspects of a first professional job in an online survey conducted by ORC International. Following closely behind is job security. Many young professionals entering the job market witnessed the economic recession, and as a result, career growth and stability have risen to the forefront as a top need.
If you value them, you should try to progress their careers. Check in with employees regularly to find out what aspect of their job they enjoy the most. Ask what else they’d like to learn. Allow them to shadow you or others in the company from whom they could learn desired skills. Make them aware of opportunities for promotions and leadership roles that they may be suited for. Provide a visible path with tactical steps they can take to earn those roles.
5. Pay employees what they’re worth.
When workers feel underpaid, rest assured, that they will leave eventually. According to the Jobvite Job Seeker Nation Survey, 32 percent of job seekers leave for higher compensation.
Start with a fair base salary for everyone. Give monthly bonuses to top performers so everyone is paid according to the work they do. Even a small amount, like $100 or $200, can make a difference.
6. Prioritize employees’ health and well-being
If your employee is happy and healthy, they’ll perform well for your organization. That might be why 89 percent of executives recently surveyed by Harris Poll are advocates for offering the best available well-being programs at work. In fact, 83 percent of executives believe that employee wellness programs can prevent employees from feeling burned out.
There are several ways you can encourage healthy lifestyles among employees. Offer a gym membership as part of a benefits package. Allow employees to come into work late or leave early once a week for a yoga or group exercise class. Work with employees’ schedules to balance their personal health initiatives with office hours.