Six Ways to Keep Your Best Employee

Talented and experienced employees always have more job options than the position they are currently have. As a CEO or business owner, it’s worth taking a minute to think about your best employee. You know that he or she can go wherever they want because they are exceptional. If you don’t want to lose them, here are six ways to keep your best employees:

Keep up with technology
Treat technology like you treat your products and services—always try to stay ahead of your competitors.

  • Offer your employees time to listen to podcasts or webinars to continue their education.
  • Give them cameras for their laptops so they can “attend” a meeting regardless of their location.
  • Use instant messaging in your work place—Skype is a great free option.
  • Allow certain employees to attend one technology conference per year.

Encourage a healthy work/life balance
A healthy workplace is a happy and productive workplace!

  • Offer flex-time and telecommuting—less time in traffic equates to happier more productive employees.
  • Offer juices and healthy snacks, instead of just coffee and soda.
  • Offer yoga or mediation at lunch or before work.
  • Encourage a healthy lifestyle and exercise by starting company softball, soccer or volleyball league teams.
  • Take vacations and really let go of stress. If you do, employees will too.

Customize motivation
Changing workforce demographics has eliminated the “one size fits all” approach to employee motivation. What works for some won’t work for many. Baby boomers thrive on their own accomplishments, Gen X loves independence and likes to be recognized in ways that foster their ability to solve problems on their own, Gen Y likes to take multiple approaches and is creative, tech savvy, and thrives on consistent and lavish praise. Consider the generation when giving awards. For example:

  • Reward a Gen Y superstar with an e-mail blast to the company about her good work.
  • Reward Gen X with the opportunity to work remotely where all people can’t interrupt them.
  • Reward Boomers with a tangible award to put on their desk.
  • Additionally, let employees reward each other with “company bucks”—fake money that can be cashed in for food, products or gift certificates.

Manage expectations
In a workforce saturated with employees who want immediate gratification, are you making sure you’re giving that gratification to those you want to retain? Here are some tips:

  • Make room in your salary structure to reward superstars with substantial raises and bonuses.
  • Offer your top performers extra vacation time to be used during slow periods.
  • Offer non-monetary perks (movie tickets, prizes, gift cards, food, etc.) that create loyalty and fun but don’t cost much.

Act as the company’s morale compass
Employees don’t leave companies they leave managers. Are people staying with you? Training managers and leaders in soft skills benefits everyone. Take time to train your leadership on conflict resolution skills, listening skills and the ability to set clear expectations with their staff. Do a refresher course yourself. Everyone’s morale will be better, including yours.

Raise the level and cull the low-performers
Sometimes during economic slowdowns people who should move on don’t. It’s up to you to create clear and new expectations for their performance. And keep resetting the goals. Higher standards and expectations support the movement of those who can’t keep up out of the business. You have every right to say that what was excellent performance or productivity in one business situation is mediocre at best in the current one.

The demand for superstars in the workplace isn’t minimized by a slowing economy. If you have great employees, be alert and keep them engaged. As a CEO you’re always in recruitment mode.

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