How do I retain good employees?

I am in recruiting mode to expand my business and need help retaining good people, any Ideas? I have a business opportunity, but you make what you put into it and I'm having difficulty retaining people with the same outlook and drive.

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What works for me is to not consider the people working with me as "employees" in the legacy sense of the word. We are all stakeholders in the business - and part of my job is to make sure that the people I work with feel that way. Everyone in the company owns a part of the company. We've found that when everyone has skin in the game not only does productivity and client satisfaction increase, but personnel churn is virtually non-existent.

But giving people a piece of the pie is only part of it. The harder part is the continual nurturing and refining of an internal company culture where people feel that their contributions are recognized, their opinions are heard, and value exchange perception between employee and company is in balance.

It wasn't always like this. At the beginning we had to let people go, because their reason for being at work was primarily for the salary check. That was no-one else's fault but mine: I recruited people based on the wrong criteria. I've learned the hard way that having people that are a cultural fit within the business is exponentially more important than whatever BS in on their CV. Skills can be taught; passion, integrity, and initiative cannot.

In my opinion capitalism needs to move to a conscious model where *all* stakeholders needs are balanced - employees, founders, shareholders, customers, suppliers and the broader community in which the business operates. We're in a world where CEOs are making 300+ times their employee average, and where the rich enjoy double-digit return on capital while 'normal' savers are lucky if they get 0.5%. This is unsustainable. At the same time, people who provide true risk capital need commensurate returns. Balance is required.?


Hi Michelle,
Why are people leaving? Apart from pay, the next thing for most people is usually job satisfaction. If people don't feel like they are contributing meaningfully or are being ignored despite having better ideas then will leave. How do people feel about those who manage them?


It is a very standard problem every company face in the Industry. If we try and implement some of the following ideas, we should be able to retain the top talent.

1. Create a transparent and open communication between employees and the management:

employees should be comfortable speaking their mind with the higher ups. Many issues can be resolved with having such a transparent culture

2. Set clear expectations:

Many at times employers fail to let employees know what is exactly expected from them. Same thing applies from the otherside as well.

3. Introduce benefits which are unique:

Revenue sharing, giving dividends, better reward programs can motivate employees to be loyal to the company

Well said Shyam.


In my experience there isn't a single reason that make people stay in a company or not. Normally if the person mission, vision and values is aligned to the company and a inspiring boss, they will think twice before change.


Make them feel appreciated, always be kind and make them part of the company (or feel a part anyway).
And/or analyse the intrinsic reasons why your employees leave and counter those reasons.


Michelle, turnover (particularly in times of rapid growth) is impacted significantly by unclear expectations; the folks you are interviewing discover that what was expected of them and/or the state of the business are not what they were led to believe. Surely there are many more reasons but you cannot retain an employee unless you are able to hire one who is aware of what they are getting into. The term "recruiting mode" suggests to me that expediency may trump patience. I can't say I blame you but I suggest you be sure that your prospective employees are well informed. The probability they will stay on board and that they will be productive will be dramatically improved.

Couldn't agree more!
IMHO this is the primary rationale for voluntary terminations within the first six months - the company fails to meet employee expectations.

Spot in Doug. Thanks for writing in.


First: If you ever do hire someone with the same outlook and drive, don't bend over.
But, in order to retain the employees who you value, you really need to empower them.
Have frequent open meetings in which you deal with opinions, ideas, and complaints. One CEO I consulted with has an "idea/complaint" box at the front desk. He has weekly open meetings where he pays every person who submits an idea or complaint $5.00. Every monday morning he opens the meeting with a fistful of Abrahams. And he makes a point of reading every idea/complaint out loud. Then he delegates one of his staff to be in charge of any idea/complaint until it is solved, and makes the employee with the idea/complaint responsible for making sure the issue is properly dealt with.
This airs all good and bad stuff for all to hear. It discourages those who want to complain secretly. It really empowers people by making them responsible for seeing a process to its conclusion, and, finally, it brings out many more ideas than any other method I've ever seen.


Michelle, not sure what kinds f skills you are interested in. If computer-related I have a blog on this topic - What Makes Techs Tick and How to Keep Them on the Clock. You'll find this on my GrowThroughPeople web site.

Anonymous User

the biggest issue I have had as an employee is "empowerment" from my employer. Empower employees to make decisions, you can train decision making but you want people willing to take a stand. Those employees will make your company better, too many times business owners want to control things and in my opinion drive good employees away.

That aside from pay and benefits!

John, good point.
In my experience if you "tell" employees what to do - they will ONLY do what has been asked of them then wait for the next set of instructions :-( This is why I'm a proponent of Situational Leadership. If anyone is interested in leaning more, you are welcome to read my blog "Delegation, Science not Art" on my website at GrowThroughPeople.

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