Leadership and career

5 Ways to Retain Your Best Employees

By February 5, 2016 No Comments

If you’re not constantly working to retain your best people, then your talent pool probably resembles a bucket with a hole in it.

You should constantly be “re-recruiting” your top performers in order to keep them energized and to do all you can to ensure their loyalty.

And why should you be doing this?  Because your best and brightest are being contacted or approached by recruiters and other employers.  Great employees always have lots of options out there, and truly intelligent and creative people tend to seek new challenges for themselves.

As you hard as you work to recruit new employees, work just as hard to hang on to the ones you’ve got.  Here are some tips for keeping your bucket full:

Make a list of employees at risk

Who is most likely to be poached?  Note those who are in positions that tend to be recruited and those with valuable and unique skills.  Add to the list anyone who currently seems bored or frustrated, along with anyone you would truly regret losing.  As you make your list, consider the last time these folks had raises or promotions or a change in job responsibilities.  Ask your team managers for input here, and use your own powers of observation.

Keep your workplace attractive

When potential new hires visit your company, you expend effort to make sure the workplace is attractive and appealing because you want to attract the candidate’s attention.  Well, don’t “let yourself go.”  Stay up to date on what competitors are providing, and make sure that your culture, your work environment, your rewards packages are optimal.  Drawing a blank?  Ask yourself what was it about your company that attracted your top talent to begin with.  Whatever that is, stay on top of it.

Conduct a re-recruiting interview

Have a meeting to gather information from an at-risk employee about what they want, what they like or dislike about their work, career goals, training and development interests and assignments or responsibilities that may appeal to them. Use the information to make positive changes.

Communicate and show your desire to retain the employee

Do your employees know how much you want them to stay?  As you would with any external candidate, let them know you want to retain them and that you view them as an important part of the business.  Employees frequently walk away from organizations because they didn’t grasp how much they were valued.

Similarly, employees stay at jobs when their leaders make periodic efforts to retain them.  When leaders match what they say with specific actions and show that they are continually trying to improve their employees’ job and work experience so they stay, retention thrives.

Develop a retention plan

Develop a plan to re-recruit and retain employees on an organizational level, which can be formal or informal.  This plan should include organizational and human resources strategies designed to keep your best employees.

Also develop personalized retention plans that meet the needs of individual employees. These plans could include assigning new projects and responsibilities, giving raises, putting employees on a track to promotion or leadership, giving them a new development opportunity, recognizing them or providing them with a special reward, re-evaluating their workload and helping them achieve more work/life balance or even assigning them to a different leader.

Ideally, share the plan with your employee.  They will appreciate the effort you made on their behalf.


Loyalty cannot be assumed anymore.  Top performers are more like “free agents” in business these days.  They know what they’re worth and what they are capable of, and so does the external market.  The question is, do you?


Maurice GilbertMaurice Gilbert is Managing Partner of Conselium Executive Search, which specializes in placing Compliance Officers and Legal Counsel for clients in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia Pacific.  Maurice is also CEO of Corporate Compliance Insights, a worldwide publication devoted to governance, risk and compliance issues. Maurice can be reached at maurice@conselium.com or maurice@corporatecomplianceinsights.com.

Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.  

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