How to Retain Star Performers

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Employee retention is business leaders’ top concern right now. In a competitive job market, how can your company retain star performers, making sure they are are happy and that they don’t leave for greener pastures?

retain your star performers by encouraging them to take the downtime they need

Raises can be part of the equation, but other perks that don’t cost money can also be helpful.  Also, are you considering employee experience? Is your company a good place to work?

I addressed this aspect of employee retention in an interview with Dana Manciagli for The Business Journals.

In this interview, I focused on how healthy attention management practices can help keep your star performers from burning out and leaving the company.

One of my core teachings about attention management is that no one can be productive — or happy! – for very long if they are constantly plugged into their jobs. Our brains just aren’t built that way. Your employees need breaks to rest, rejuvenate and get some distance from their work (even if they resist it). When they don’t take them, their work quality and their personal lives both suffer.  With other options available to them, it will be harder for you to retain star performers. Even if they don’t make this connection between time off and job enjoyment, you should.

Promote Vacation

So what can you do as a leader who wants to retain star performers? First, take a look at the office vacation schedule for this summer. Do your employees have time off scheduled? Do you? There’s an epidemic of American workers forfeiting days off. That’s bad for productivity and employee retention. Unfortunately, many employees still consider skipping vacation a badge of honor. That’s why leaders should actively encourage employees to use all their days off — and unplug from the office while they’re gone. It also helps to set an example by taking vacation yourself, and leave someone else in charge so you don’t have to check in while you’re gone.

Curb After-Hours Email

But it isn’t just extended periods away from the office that keep employees healthy, happy and productive. They need a break from work during their evenings and weekends, too. That’s why I recommend that you don’t send or respond to after-hours communications. There may be occasional times when employees must be connected to the office beyond normal work hours. But this shouldn’t become a habit in your office.

Enable Focused Work

Finally, you can retain star performers by making sure they have a chance to do their best work. One of the major reasons that employees leave jobs is that they don’t think their skills and abilities are being utilized. To do the work that’s most important and satisfying to them, employees need work environments that support focus and undivided attention. Otherwise, it’s easy to lose huge chunks of time to busy work like email or chats with colleagues who drop by with a question.

You can learn more about attention management, job perks that don’t detract from the bottom line, and creating environments that support productivity and employee retention in my new book, Work Without Walls: An Executive’s Guide to Attention Management, Productivity, and the Future of Work. Start reading for free now.

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