6 Secrets to Retaining High-Performing Employees

Career Wisdom
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What resources do employees seek to enhance their professional skills? Consider these strategies to keep your top staff members engaged.

They’re your project tacklers, your solution-oriented champions and the ones you know you can count on — high-performing employees are what make your company thrive and your job easier. Learn how to nurture high-performing employees by providing the resources they crave to develop their skills.

1. Invest in Their Development

High-performing employees thrive on constant growth. When employees feel that a business is committed to their growth, they’re more likely to feel committed to that business. Think about offering employee-development opportunities beyond in-house training programs, such as online certifications, pursuing an advanced degree or even attending a conference. Businesses can further emphasize their commitment to employee growth by offering support financially and through dedicated time reserved for advancement. 

2. Aim for Continual Progress

A once-a-year performance review is a long time to wait for feedback. Consider more frequent check-ins to manage employees’ progress. The occasional touch base can help high-performing employees understand short- and long-term goals. Continued growth opportunities can improve overall performance.

3. Remember: Management Isn’t Always a Motivator

It’s important to keep this group feeling challenged by ever-changing tasks — but be careful in how you “reward” their performance. A promotion to management might not be the accolade all high-performing employees yearn for. Employees want to participate in the planning of their career development. To retain high-performing employees, understand what their goals for advancement are and consider if they would perform as well as a manager as they do in their current role. 

4. Listen and Learn

There is a lot to be gleaned from your team: fresh thoughts, interesting perspectives, even internal conflicts. But if you aren’t someone who’s seen as receptive, friendly and supportive, then you may never learn about the combined knowledge — and good ideas! — from your team. When high-performing employees come to you with a passion project, help them pursue it. If there’s a conflict, don’t blame or jump to conclusions. And if there’s a problem, be a problem solver. 

The conversation goes both ways — high-performing employees want to hear what you have to say. Tell your employees that they are valuable and emphasize their potential. Need help? The article “5 Ways to Be a Strong and Inspiring Leader” offers guidance, or take this quiz to examine if you’re an effective manager.

Learn how to nurture high-performing employees by providing the resources they crave to develop their skills.

5. Respect Work/Life Balance

Times have changed in the workplace. The standard 40-hour workweek is no longer standard and the traditional office environment is now very untraditional. Offer flexibility in aspects of work/life balance and understand that it might mean different things for different people. To avoid burnout from high-performing employees, consider offering options for remote work, increasing support for employees who are parents, encouraging vacations and mental health days, and refocusing from the quantity of time spent working to the quality of work and productivity. The best way to respect work/life balance? Lead by example. 

6. Understand Company Culture

In an organization, it’s as much about the place as it is about the people. Company culture is how you act, the expectations that are held for employees and the motivations that drive a company. Company culture is not superficial statements saying who you are and what you believe in — it’s your actions that show who you are and what you believe in. Practice what you preach in the pursuit of an ideal workplace. 

High-performing employees want to work for caring mentors who champion their work, at places that care about them — personally and professionally — and their development. Achieving that is the secret to high-performing employee retention. 


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