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5 Ways to Retain Superstar Employees

Posted Mar 18 2009 3:15pm

This is Karl of Work Happy Now, having a blast guest posting for Alex while he is snowboarding in Whistler. 

The Gen Yers are licking their chops as the old guard is losing their jobs. I know it’s not fair, but times are tough and companies need to make room for cheaper alternatives who have excellent education.

superman Many companies will do the usual and promote their young employees and increase their pay. If you read this blog on a semi-regular basis you know this isn’t good enough. You have to have a whole plan to retain the young superstars.

Create a Fun Environment

When was the last time you had a little party with some music and laughter? When was the last time you sent out a thank you to everyone in the company?

Creating a fun environment doesn’t take much time or money. All it takes is a little planning and effort. We often don’t feel we have time to do this. If you don’t take the time to celebrate, create a sharing environment and encourage people to let loose then fear will set in. Fear leads to bad decision making.

You need to let your superstars have fun and do great work. If they feel that they are free to create, laugh and share their ideas with one another, they will produce great results.

Pay Above Average and Include Perks

I know money isn’t everything, but companies who show that they care really make a difference. Sometimes a bonus or a little extra perk make an employee feel good. They feel like their hard work was noticed.

Your superstars are aware that their talents are valuable, so make sure you pay them what they’re worth. Co-workers talk to each other and research what other people are earning. If you pay too low they won’t stick around unless you’re some amazing non-profit that fills their souls with love.

You will also need to have some perks that keep them engaged in their work. If a young superstar is working harder than his peers then he wants managers and co-workers to notice. Compliments, when deserved, go a long way to showing a person that the company cares about the employee’s needs.

Provide Comprehensive Training

Now that a superstar is on board you have to train the employee using every tool at your disposal. The whole company should be involved. Most companies have trainers. They teach you the basics of how to do the job, but they often don’t have in-depth training. You need to teach your young employees how you would like them to interact with customers and clients. And keep teaching them on a consistent basis, so they know exactly what will make them successful.

They also need to be taught that it’s okay to fail. This may burn the company many times, but by giving them the freedom to learn on the job you’ll be supporting forward thinking productivity. The time put in at the beginning and throughout his/her career will help make the superstar successful and more confident.

Meet the Employee’s Needs

Some companies are so afraid of losing a superstar that they just pay way too much without really finding out what the employee’s other needs are. Many superstars just want to work one day from home. Other superstars want the freedom to try their own projects.

Ask them what they need and implement a system that helps both company and employee. If they want to work on their own projects then try it the Google way. Give them 10% of the work week to do whatever they want as long as they can prove that it will help the company.

Allow Anonymous Feedback

Dave Balterof Bzzagent asks employees what they want changed within the company. Employees submit anonymous requests through a little box. The coordinator organizes all the requests and every one is discussed at a regular meeting to air out the problems.

Dave Balterwas surprised that it was usually the small things that bugged the employees. One employee wanted 4 prong forks in the kitchen instead of the 3 pronged forks that were presently there because it wasn’t easy to eat salads.

Make sure you give superstars the opportunity to air problems and solutions, so they make their work environment as enjoyable as possible.

All of these ideas should be applied to every employee, but I knew I could catch your attention if I made this article about superstars. Now that you know five great ways to retain employees, try implementing one of these each month for the next five months. Check back with us and tell us how successful your employee retention strategy was.

Karl Staib writes about unlocking and kicking open the door to working happy at his own blog: Work Happy Now! If you enjoyed this article, you may like to subscribe to his feed, follow him on Twitter or read one of his most popular articles,  You Are Awesome.

Image courtesy of  shindohd

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