It is tough looking for good employees and tougher trying to get them to stay. After you put in the time, effort and investment to hire the best employees possible, you really don’t want them to quit on you. So what are the secrets? Is it salary, retirement plans, and vacation benefits? Job satisfaction is definitely high on the list of what increases your employee retention rate but here are a few strategies you can use to retain your talent:

1) Make your employees feel like an asset to your company. Don’t make them feel like overheads or cost centers. Allow them to feel secure in their job. Greet them by name, letting them know that you know who they are and what their contributions are to the company. Above all take their input when it comes to changes at the workplace or culture. Give them opportunities to make choices as much as possible.

2) Make sure their roles and the company’s goals are clearly mapped out. Be sure you have job descriptions so your employees know what is required of them. If there are changes that need to be made, don’t expect them to read your mind. You must communicate directly and clearly. Good employees want to do their job well but they also need to know their boundaries.

3) Create an open and honest work environment. Give feedback on work performed and be willing to listen, really listen, to the concerns of your employees. Chance meetings in the hall where social greetings are exchanged are good but do not take the place of actually sitting down face-to-face and discussing any work-related concerns. Be open and listen to new ideas. Accept suggestions for problem-solving. Be available and open when your employee asks for your guidance. Keep your top talent informed about what is happening with the company - don’t let rumors take over. If there are problems or setbacks, communicate this.

4) Provide opportunities to grow and learn, and let your employees know there is room for advancement in your company. Provide tuition for continuing education classes. Give challenging and stimulating work. Tap into their passion and allow them to focus their time and energy on projects they can enjoy. Let them know what career development plans you may have for them and what opportunities are available for them to grow with the company.

5) Reward good work. Monetary bonuses are always nice, but recognition of a job well done goes a long way to creating goodwill and loyalty too. Recognition needs to be specific: “Good job” is acceptable, but “Good job on the Nelson project” is better. In order to retain talent, you must make them feel appreciated, respected and worthwhile. Recent studies show that when employees feel undervalued and unappreciated, they look for other employment. They need to feel that their contributions to the business are important. But the feedback and praise must be sincere. Top talent is smart enough to know the difference between sincere appreciation and platitudes.