How to Retain High Performers:

Here are five tips to help managers retain their most valuable employees.

1. Managers can "interview" their best workers.
 A good way to determine if a manager has satisfied the staff is to interview them about what's like working at the firm. They should be encouraged to respond candidly to questions such as:
a) If you could change something about your job or the company, what would it be?
b) What's your best day on the job like?
c) Are you interested in assuming new responsibilities?
d) What can I do to make your job better?
e) What are your career goals, and how can the firm support them?

Employees' answers may prompt managers to make changes, such as launching a formal professional development program, grooming promising individuals for higher-level roles or simply implementing a more casual dress code.

2. Provide development opportunities.

In an Office Team survey, one-third of executives polled said limited opportunity for advancement is the leading reason good employees quit. Put simply, managers must show their workers there is room to grow at the firm. Training courses, mentoring programs or tuition reimbursement are cost-effective ways to convince staff members that the company wants to help them broaden their skill sets.
 Managers should also consider rewarding deserving employees with promotions. If that's not possible at the moment, they can give employees the chance to take on new responsibilities and work them to develop a defined career path with the company.

3. Recognize excellence.

When Office Team asked workers what they find most motivating, other than monetary rewards, the top response was frequent recognition of their accomplishments. Managers don't need to throw a parade every time an objective is met, but people do appreciate when management pays attention to their successes.
 Regardless of how busy they are, managers should make a point to frequently offer sincere, specific thanks. Other simple but effective incentives include allowing employees to take a long lunch or leave early, offering public praise and providing a handwritten thank you note.

4. Communicate with the team.

The best remedy for boosting low morale is effective communication, according to executives surveyed by Office Team. Managers should let employees know what they're doing to keep the company strong, stable and on track, particularly if the business was hit hard by the recession. They also need to get out of their offices and talk to staff to solicit their input about new developments or business challenges. In short, they must treat their employees like stakeholders and share information as freely and frequently as possible.

5. Emphasize balance.

Managers can help their workers achieve a healthy work-life balance by considering flexible schedules or telecommuting options. These changes are often not difficult or costly to implement, and employees will appreciate having the ability to better manage their personal and professional priorities. Small businesses, in particular, often can be creative with policies that address work-life balance issues.

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