Retaining Your Most Engaged and Talented Employees

Tune in to every individual on a regular basis. This does not have to be formalized and structured as part of the standard appraisal process. This is much more about day-to-day management and supervision. People leave supervisors and managers rather than leaving organizations. The management and supervision of top achievers must be as high quality as the achievers themselves. Managers should not underestimate their role in holding onto their best workers. Avoid over-measuring: While it is important to measure outputs and performance, over-measurement can be a real irritant to high-performing individuals and may reduce their desire to keep doing what they do.

It is far better to have regular input sessions on being clear about the future and the team’s performance, followed by frequent, shorter feedback conversations both one-on-one and in small groups to check that the individual and the team are headed in the right direction. It sounds simple because it is. One of the biggest mistakes we can make is to lose valuable people by overcomplicating what is really a simple humanistic process based on personal relationships.

Communicate clearly. Clear communication not only gives workers clarity about the future, but also around what is expected of them every day. Once people are clear on what they have to do at work, they will be more focused and productive and will therefore be happier at work. If workers feel uncertain or vague about what they’re meant to be doing, their commitment to the company will also be uncertain and vague — if existent at all.

Learn from exit interviews. What have past valued employees who resigned said in their exit interviews? Managers can look over this data and integrate their findings into new strategies to ensure fewer untimely resignations. Exit interviews are sometimes mocked as pointless, but it could be the most important body of data an organization has amassed.

Nisa Chitakasem is the founder of Position Ignition, a talent retention, risk management and senior talent management consulting company. She can be reached at

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