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How to Retain Superstar Employees

If you’re a small business owner, you know your largest expense is your workforce. But behind that number are the individuals that make up your workforce. And to get the best bang for your buck, you not only need to attract super-star need to retain them. It’s hard to pin down a figure on how much of a financial hit your company takes when you lose a valued employee. SHRM (The Society for Human Resource Management) estimates you are losing between 6-9 months of the employee’s salary. Another study from the Center for American Progress breaks it down a little further by looking at the employee’s salary and role in the company.

  • Employees earning less than 30K, cost an average of 16% of that employee’s salary to replace.

  • Mid-level employees earning about 30-50K can cost you about 20%.

  • Executives and those employees with a specialized education or skill set can cost you up to 213% of their current salary to replace.

So when you run across those super-star employees, how can you make sure they stay?

Competitive compensation and benefits:

This one seems obvious. Paying below the average salary for a given position won’t attract or retain quality employees. Make sure your compensation and benefits package is appropriately robust.

Know how to treat employees:

  • You’ve got a super-star employee, now let them do their thing. If you are clear about the job role and performance expectations you don’t need to micromanage. But do be available for guidance and clarification when it’s asked for.

  • Give them the proper tools and training. Make sure they have the tools they need to get the job done as well as on-going training so they can improve their skills and keep up on best practices.

  • Encourage creative innovation. Many employees often have skills gained from other jobs. It may not fit their current job description, but can help the company as a whole overall and makes the employee feel valued.

Leverage the insights of the employees you do have:

  • Have a clear Career Development Plan for the employee. Knowing their potential for growth will keep them striving.

  • Conduct “stay” interviews. Do you have super-star employees with longevity in your office? Have conversations with them asking why they’ve stayed.

  • And while the goal is to keep valued employees, when someone does leave, conduct an exit interview and use the knowledge to do better with current and future employees.

Perks, welcoming office environment and more: Can you offer perks beyond compensation and benefits? Some ideas you can consider:

  • Flex time and telecommuting.

  • Breakfast in the break room on Friday morning or keep healthy snacks around the office such as fruit for snacking during the day.

  • Provide small services such as dry cleaning pickup and drop off.

When you have a work environment that values and rewards employees you not only attract top talent, it helps you keep the talent you have, increases workplace morale, and in the end can save you money by reducing employee turnover and the costs associated with hiring and training new personnel.

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