12 Ways to retain your Best People this year

Staff retention remains one of the bigger challenges I see in business.

Business owners complain to me “If only I’d known something before they resigned, I could have kept them”. 

But of course it’s generally too late after they resign.

So what can you do to retain your best people longer? 

1.    Tell them what you want

One of the biggest compliments I hear employees say about their employer is that they were told what the owner wanted.

Periodically explain what you want your business to achieve over the next month, quarter, year and medium-term. In my bookThe Fourth Moon I call these Mission Goals.

Explain to teams what you want them to achieve.

And most importantly, explain to each team member individually what you want them to achieve. In my book The Fourth Moon I call these Crew Goals.

Ensure every team member understands the Top 5 Goals for the business, their team and themselves.

2.    Create a career path

Don’t just focus on the immediate role required.

Look at how that role can evolve over the next two years and 3-5 years.

Then step out what the hire will need to learn and deliver on. What are the performance gaps and learning needs that they can overcome to grow within the business?

Wherever possible, develop a short-term and medium-term career path for each position.

Don’t be scared to discuss this career path as early as the hiring stage. The candidate is thinking about where this role will take them.

If you are able to map this out for them, and the evolution of their role is realistic and attractive, you will have dramatically increased your chance of securing the best candidate.

3.    Make their role more interesting and meaningful

Two questions to challenge yourself on each team member.

How can I make a team member’s role more interesting? Can I introduce some new functions? Can I delegate or outsource some mundane tasks? Can I improve the comfort and functionality in their work environment?

How can I make a team member’s role more meaningful? Can I explain how the successful completion of their tasks leads to the achievement of a business or team goal? 

4.    Check in

Check in regularly and proactively with each team member.

Rolling operational check-ins should be mandatory with the frequency of these check-ins based on seniority and job complexity.

Regular performance reviews should be scheduled in advance and conducted on a non-negotiable basis. 

5.    Let them take risks

Start allowing your team members to take small risks. As they succeed, increase the stakes.

A team member may suggest outsourcing some activities offshore. Consider trialing this for a month to see if the same work quality is achieved at a lower cost.

Be open to ‘changing things up’ on a trial basis. Consider allowing a team member to work remotely a day a month. If it is successful, you might increase this to a day a week.

6.    Celebrate their wins

To criticize is easy. But to praise takes character.

Acknowledge team member wins in many forums. 

Praise them individually. Tell their Manager and mention wins in front of their team. Praise them in front of customers and advisors.

Don’t be scared to say two of the rarest words in business.

Thank You.

7.    Invest in them individually

In the global online village, there are endless ways to invest in professional and personal development of your team. This is only limited by your imagination.

On the job training, internal training, external training, online training, education, coaching and mentoring. 

Be generous.

8.    Fertilize your culture

List how you can make your business amazing in ways that your team members will brag to their friends and family about you?

Then do it.

9.    Remunerate generously

Salaries and standard benefits should be above market if you really want to remove the ‘pay’ issue as a retention risk.

Special benefits such as child care, extra annual leave and gym memberships go even further.

10.    Incentivize

Periodic incentives based on achieving goals or targets are a powerful tool in retaining talent.

These can include bonuses, gifts, prizes, travel, experiences or staff events that contribute to sticky retention.

11.    Random acts of kindness

These are spontaneous or event-driven acts of kindness to acknowledge individuals who have had a milestone event (marriage, baby or personal achievement) or gone the extra mile for the business.

12.    Care

You can’t fake care.

Take a genuine interest in your team members. From the heart.

And if you do make a management mistake, say the other rare word in business.


I’d love to hear your comments on your most innovative retention strategies to keep your best people.

Darren Bourke

I really want you to start creating sustainable success in your business and life. Simply check out my FAQs videos HERE on what business owners most commonly ask about sustainable business success. If they help you, simply sign up and get the other 20x videos free.

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Cheers, Darren K Bourke