How to Retain Your Top Performers

Posted by Ryan Frazier

We’ve all been there: the day one of your top performers quits. While employee turnover is inevitable at any organization, few things are harder than seeing talented team members move on to new opportunities. Yet with unemployment at a near all-time low, employee retention is harder than ever. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40 million American workers quit their jobs in 2018 — a whopping 26.9% of the total workforce. And since employee turnover can cost employers around $15,000 for each departing team member, the need to retain employees is becoming a top priority for managers and HR departments.

So what’s the best way to keep top performers on your team? Offering good compensation and benefits is a great start, but it shouldn’t stop there. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that your best employees stick around. 

Help employees feel challenged and engaged

If you’re like most people, chances are you’ve had a job where you didn’t feel challenged or passionate about your day-to-day work. And you’re not alone. A 2018 Gallup survey found that only 34% of U.S. workers are engaged in the workplace, a statistic that can lead to decreased productivity and have a significant impact on a company’s overall success.

To help your employees feel engaged, it’s important to get them involved in projects that align with their goals and provide them with the opportunity to have a voice in the company. It’s also important to build a culture that brings your team together and gets them excited about working toward a shared goal. Above all, it’s important to prioritize the needs of your employees and to ensure that they feel both challenged and supported.


Keep additional responsibilities to a minimum

Working with top performers means having the ability to complete projects faster and more effectively. In fact, studies show that top performers produce on average 400% more output than average workers and have a very high return on investment. However, this can eventually lead to employee burnout since employers are likely to pile more work onto their highest-performing teams. 

To make sure that your top performers have the work-life balance they need, it’s important to be mindful of their workflows and to avoid adding too much to their plate. This is where clear goal-setting comes into play. Work with your management team to outline your employees’ key responsibilities and revisit these regularly. This will help you get a clear sense of what each team member is working on and how you can limit additional tasks. 


Create clear growth opportunities

Minimizing additional responsibilities is a great way to keep your top performers from burning out, but to help them feel fully fulfilled in their roles it’s crucial to create advancement opportunities. According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workforce Learning Report, 93% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers.

A good way to do this is to implement career pathing. This can help you get a sense of your employees’ long-term goals while identifying potential opportunities for them within the company. In addition to allowing them to have a clear understanding of possible avenues for advancement, this can also help you identify new roles you may not have thought of. 


Having dedicated, talented employees on your team can make a big difference when it comes to reaching your goals. To ensure that they stick with you, it’s important to offer them opportunities that will keep them engaged without burning them out. By prioritizing your employees’ needs and taking a mindful approach to management, you can reduce turnover, and keep your top performers on your team.


Want to improve your employee retention even further? Learn how to make age diversity a priority for your company and the key to managing remote teams

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