Retaining Top Employees: 6 Simple Strategies

Retaining your top employees doesn't have to mean spending loads of money. The most powerful strategies involve human connections.



Have you ever left work after spending the entire day sifting through resumes or processing former employees’ paperwork, only to realize you barely spent any time with your current employees?

While you need more staff members, don’t overlook the value your existing staff provides. In today’s market, it’s more critical than ever to focus on retaining existing staff and nourishing those relationships.

Here are six strategies to help you keep employees happy and working for you.

Tips for Retaining Top Employees

Make Their First Day the Best Day

First impressions really do matter. Get employees off to a great start by:

  • Having everything prepared beforehand (credentials, email address, login info, badges).
  • Ensuring someone is there to welcome them when they arrive.
  • Introducing them to coworkers.
  • Preparing training or shadowing for them for the entire day.
  • Setting expectations for their next shift.

You hired this employee because you need extra help, so put them to work as soon as orientation is complete! Just be careful not to overload them.


Recognition goes a long way and doesn’t cost much. Take time to celebrate life's happy moments by:

  • Giving employees a birthday card on their birthday.
  • Congratulating them on personal achievements, such as graduating from an academic program or receiving a training certificate.
  • Recognizing their work anniversaries and milestones.
  • Simply saying, "thank you" or "job well done."

Your employees will feel more connected to your company when a personal touch is added, making them feel recognized and appreciated.

Connect Personally

Find ways to connect with your employees on a personal level. You don't have to pry into their lives, but they may feel more endeared if you:

  • Inquire how their day is going, then genuinely listen for their answer.
  • Ask about their child's school concert or ball game, or what they loved about their recent vacation.
  • Schedule one-on-ones and create space for them to share what's going on in their professional and personal lives.

Praise Employees

Make praise part of your work culture. Create a cycle of hard work, recognition, and satisfaction by:

  • Setting challenging, but achievable goals.
  • Recognizing employees when they meet those goals, calling out achievements along the way.
  • Rewarding high achieving individuals.

Be careful to only reward employees who are deserving of it. When praise is given to employees who perform poorly or aren’t pulling their own weight, it can be demoralizing to others.

Set Clear Expectations

Communicating effectively means providing specific directions rather than giving vague directives. To make sure your employees know what you expect from them, explain the what, why, when, and how. For example:

  • Don’t say: "Clean up that spill ASAP!"
  • Do say: "Within the next 10 minutes, cover the spilled oil with absorbent, sweep it up with a broom, and clear the spot with degreaser to avoid any permanent staining."

Give Frequent, Meaningful Feedback

Let employees know where they stand, what they're getting right, and how they can do better. In doing so:

  • Allow for back-and-forth conversation. You don't have to agree with everything an employee is saying, but you do need to hear them out.
  • Don't hold back criticism. While giving praise is important, there may be times when being corrected is warranted. (Tip: praise publicly, criticize in private.)
  • Recognize when you notice changes in behaviors that are leading to positive outcomes.

At the end of the day, remember the Golden Rule and treat employees with the trust and respect you’d expect to receive.

Bottom Line to Help with Retaining Top Employees

Spending time on creating a positive employee experience will help you reclaim productive hours by minimizing time (and resources) spent on replacing employees. Request more information by booking a free consultation!

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