A guide to retaining valuable employees

It's important that human resources teams and managers take proactive steps to increase employee retention.

At the end of the day, a company is only as good as its workforce, meaning its absolutely imperative for organizations to not only hire outstanding talent, but to keep them on board long enough to make a tangible difference. After all, a stellar employee can contribute immensely to a company's growth and success, while the process of replacing an employee is costly, demoralizing and detrimental to long term progress. As Mondo noted, the financial cost alone of replacing a valued employee averages out to around 60 percent of their annual salary.

With all this in mind, it's important that human resources teams and managers take proactive steps to increase employee retention. Below is a guide to some of the most effective ways to ensure that a valuable employee remains happy and comfortable in the office:

1. Praise employees
An effective way to keep a top performer content on the job is to offer her praise or rewards for outstanding work. Recognition from HR teams or executives in the C-Suite will help her feel that she is part of a cohesive team and that her contributions are valued, which in turn will keep her more engaged. Mondo explained that value-based recognition programs, that include rewards or benefits for high performance, are an effective way to not only keep employees happy, but also to keep them working toward shared company goals.

2. Effective supervision is important
As About Money explained, it's absolutely vital that managers are not only well-liked by a new employee, but also that they delegate clearly and concisely. A worker that is unclear over expectations from bosses higher up is more likely to be stressed and frustrated. Ultimately, managers play one of the most important roles in keeping a new hire on board. Methods to improve supervision include holding frequent meetings and offering detailed feedback and encouragement.

As Forbes elaborated, one way to improve supervision is to remove managers that engage in intimidating, condescending or rude behavior. After all, a vast number of employees often choose to depart jobs over a profound dislike of higher management.

Keeping a job fresh and challenging is key to keeping valued employees engaged.

3. Keep the position fresh
A monotonous, un-engaging job will leave a valued employee bored and frustrated . According to Forbes, the process of mentally checking out on the job is known as "retiring in place," and it has a significant cost - some estimates peg it at $300 billion annually. Tactics to prevent this from happening include assigning the worker to a new project, pushing her out of her routine and comfort zone and creating team opportunities, among others. In essence, an employee with an interesting and engaging workload will be less inclined to look for opportunities elsewhere.

4. Flexibility is key
In the digital age, many employees are reaping the benefits of working remotely. With an efficient WiFi connection, most jobs can be carried out from the comfort of home. Granting employees the choice to work from home, if and when necessary, is an effective way for employers to keep their team happy. After all, it demonstrates flexibility, compassion and the willingness of the C-Suite to accommodate a workers schedule. Indeed, a majority of companies have recognized the enormous benefits remote work options have for morale and office culture, and now offer remote working schedules. A recent survey from Polycom found that up to 90 percent of U.S. employers are providing and/or expanding work from home policies.

"Employees are reaping the benefits of working remotely."

5. Ensure the office is enjoyable
A fun office needn't result in slacking off. Rather it can boost morale, improve communication and foster better teamwork, Forbes elaborated. After all, numerous studies have indicated that a happier, stress-free workforce tends to be more productive. Ideas for ramping up office enjoyment include establishing an after-work activity club, holding occasional staff outings, and developing initiatives such as lunchtime games, tournaments or office sweepstakes regarding upcoming sporting events. An office with a laid back, social culture is likely to retain more employees.

6. Encourage an open exchange of ideas
If an employee is welcomed to speak her mind and offer suggestions or critiques to managers, she will likely feel more content, valued and respected. It's important, therefore, that HR teams and managers foster an environment in which all employees and managers converse freely about ways to improve the company. Forbes argued that the establishment of an "upward mentorship" program could also be an effective tool. While it's routine practice for senior leaders to mentor junior employees, Forbes explained that a reversal of the roles, even for a brief time, can be beneficial for all involved: An upward mentorship program involves senior employees inviting younger talent to offer them feedback and ideas for improvement. This is especially useful in the digital age, given that junior workers are likely to be more digitally literate. The upward mentorship program again works to solidify working relationships, allowing employees to feel useful and valued.

7. Offer rewards for employee referrals
According to Forbes, rewarding current employees with financial bonuses for referring new candidates is a terrific way to not only keep a current employee happy, but also to find amazing new talent. Bonuses are typically paid to the employee that referred the new candidate in increments: When the new hire starts work and a year after they joined.

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