While it may be daunting to think about how to effectively retain your top employees, it's a lot harder to watch them leave. If we break it down, retention is pretty simple. Think. Ask. Act. Retain. Think about the answers to three simple questions: Does my high performing (or high potential) employee have:
Challenging and meaningful work
Positive sentiment about colleagues and culture
Plans for the future
Even if you answered "yes" to all of these questions, you should question your own perceptions. Ask the employee. You will learn a lot by engaging in a dialogue, and they are more likely to talk openly about their current state, future needs, and professional desires if they realize you actually care. Find out what they want, which is different than today, then make a commitment to help them move forward. Document a development plan which articulates your agreement to support their professional growth. Act on their Needs. Employees want to know you mean it when you create a development plan. They want to see that you stick to commitments. They are much more inclined to be committed and productive if they think you are investing in them. Development does not have to be training or a financial commitment. Create a development plan that outlines their desired future and your intentions to follow through in getting them there. Then follow through. You have to make plans to keep your top employees, but you also have to stay true to your word...before they get another job offer! It's not rocket science.