Your company’s long-term success is defined by the quality of your employees. New products, value-added services and other profit-related components can only take you so far – after all, those products and services come from somewhere. Without a motivated and happy workforce, any business enterprise is set up for failure.

Talent retention is regarded by many analysts as the #1 factor that separates great companies from good ones. How can you make sure to keep your valuable employees from leaving?

Keep Your Team, Continue to Grow

Here’s the bottom line about your bottom line: in order to retain existing clients and grow potential business, you have to retain existing employees and effectively recruit new company contributors. But it all starts with keeping the team you currently have, and that means retaining your top talent. Studies show that up to 70% of workers aren’t fully committed to their employers. Here are some ways to potentially change that:

Consider a culture change. Does your overall company culture foster employee satisfaction? Take a good look in the mirror – if your firm is subject to a mass exodus of workers every now and then, tweak your current culture – or change it completely, if necessary. Some suggestions include the following:

  • Schedule activities outside the office. Employees are more willing to invest in a company if that company shows they care. Team-building time away from the office – movies, dinners, amusement park events, etc.
  • Try a new location. If your company is in an old industrial park, see if a newer office building makes sense. Don’t move too far, though – you want to keep longtime employees comfortable with their commute.
  • Don’t be afraid of change. Let’s say your outdated HR policies are in place because “that’s the way it’s always been.” That answer isn’t good enough for employees weighing another position. See what needs to be updated (policies, pay scales, etc.) to enact positive, employee-retaining change.

Analyze your staff to optimize employee headcount. One major reason that employees leave a company is they feel overworked. Does your 4-person accounting team actually need a fifth or sixth worker? Is your sales force always under the gun at the end of the month, struggling to meet quotas? Take a long, hard look at not just WHO you have, buy HOW MANY you have.

Conduct face-to-face feedback meetings at least twice per year. Schedule feedback sessions with your employees. See what needs improvement on your end. Find out what is working – and what’s not working. Determine what can be improved immediately, and follow through. If employees don’t see tangible improvement soon, that’s a cue that their company isn’t “all-in,” so why should they be?

Illustrate the big picture. Whenever employees become detached from the overall mission, it’s only a matter of time before they’re browsing job sites. Make a commitment to show how each department – and each employee – is crucial to overall success. This can be done with in-house seminars, training sessions and team-building activities, in or out of the office (see above). What’s important here is to tell a story – and make everyone an integral part of that story!

Pay is paramount. Don’t kid yourself; compensation is critical. Despite all the talk about “money doesn’t matter,” it does. Align your pay scale with other top performers in your industry to have a better chance of keeping your best workers.

Be flexible. It’s 2016, so implement work practices that reflect recent advancements. Today, most companies offer remote and/or commuting work at least one day every week or so. If your employees have the ability to work from home, they’ll be more likely to show appreciation by staying put.

Can these tips and tricks prevent all of your employees from finding work elsewhere? No, but you’ll have a much better chance at keeping your best workers if you try. Commitment is a two-way street. Find ways to solidify relationships and work goals with your employees, and you’ll spend more time cultivating your current talent, and less time replacing those who’ve left.

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