Leadership Blog

Posted By: Eva Grabner | on February 10 2017

Retaining those top employees

I know I have touched on this subject before, but now more than ever, at the beginning of the year employers need to keep those key employees.  It’s the time of the year where New Year resolutions are in place and usually right up there is “Find a new job”.  The last thing any business needs as they are ramping up for the year ahead is to have to recruit, train and mentor a new employee or employees.  Not only is it expensive (it can cost between six and nine months of the outgoing employees salary to recruit and train his or her replacement), but it can have a negative impact on other employees.

Constant change can be stressful and affect morale, motivation and employee performance.  Those who are left with an extra workload can end up feeling angry, resentful and hard done by and this can only hurt productivity and organisational effectiveness in the long run.

There are five common mistakes that employers make when it comes to staff: overworking them, not recognising their hard work, not having clear career paths for them, not providing development opportunities and employing managers who don’t care.  So, if you want to retain those top employees, I recommend that you follow these tips:

Keep an eye on burnout

Overworked staff can make mistakes, resulting in sick leave and exhaustion.  If you expect your employees to be available 24/7 you may be asking too much.  Prevent this by monitoring people’s workloads (especially if they are taking on additional responsibilities during someone’s vacation or after a resignation), develop a genuine concern for their wellbeing and encourage them to get plenty of rest, take frequent breaks and exercise regularly.

Provide development opportunities

This doesn’t necessarily mean increased salaries or promotions but employees do need to feel invested in.  Good companies hold onto their best employees by training and upskilling them so speak with your staff about where they want their careers to go.  Perhaps there are projects or openings in areas that they would like to further develop and the only way you will know is to ask.  Many people need to know where their career is going to stay motivated in a role.  Work with your staff to identify what they are looking for and help them define some clear objectives to help them reach their goals.

Recognise good work

Employees that feel appreciated and recognised for a job well done will inevitably go that ‘extra mile’.  They will be committed and more engaged if they believe that their contribution is making a difference and is acknowledged as doing so.

Care about them as people not just as employees

Get to know your staff or at least your direct reports.  Show a genuine concern, not just a perfunctory monthly meeting or yearly performance appraisal.  Encourage them to ask questions, blow off steam and voice any concerns.  You may not be able to help, nor may be appropriate to help, every time but showing concern and a willingness to listen and empathise will demonstrate to them that you care about them as people not just as work-producing employees.

As a recruiter I have seen so many businesses lose money in recruiting, training and mentoring new employees only to have them leave because of lack of support, miscommunication or that they just were not the right fit.  Plan carefully, put your recruitment strategy in place and talk to your staff.

Wishing you all a very successful and profitable 2017.


Eva Grabner
Managing Director
Elite Executive Pty Ltd
0409 59 11 88