How to Keep Your Top Employees


So you have some employees you’re fond of. That’s great. But, you’re concerned they may head for greener pastures once the economy improves and their options expand. Not so good. This CNN/Fortune article offers some thoughts on how to make sure your affinity for your top staffers is not unrequited:

The CEB (Corporate Executive Board) survey, which asked nearly 20,000 high-potential employees what drove them, found that feeling connected to corporate strategy was tops on their list. But many managers turned inward when the economy sank, giving fewer employees the chance to influence the company’s direction.

Another way to get your stars involved is to turn them into headhunters. Many companies already do so through employee-referral programs, but they don’t realize that there is an upside beyond bringing in new talent. Dave Ulrich, human resources consultant and University of Michigan professor, says such programs can actually boost loyalty for those doing the recruiting. "It sounds tautological," he says, "but when people behave as if they’re committed, they become more committed."

Even if money isn’t the best motivator, it still talks. To make a smaller bonus pool go further, fine-tune your timing. Rewards handed out at tough times can have a major impact. It’s also smart to rethink your selection process. More companies are paying bonuses to those with hard-to-replace skills instead of just top performers, says Hay Group comp expert Tom McMullen.