Employee Retention: How to Keep Your Best People

During hard economic times it’s more important than ever to retain your best people. They can mean the difference between business success and failure.

This may not seem difficult on the surface since jobs are getting scarcer and maybe it’s not. But even if your best people aren’t leaving, they could be experiencing stress due to the fear of losing their jobs. That stress can affect productivity and morale, not to mention profitability for the company.

So, here are tips for keeping your best people – and keeping them happy.


The key to keeping good employees lies in how you manage them. It’s said that people don’t leave their companies, they leave their managers. No matter how good your managers are, they can always do better.

The best way to improve management techniques is to assess your employees to find out what they want and need and manage them accordingly. For example, let’s say I work for you. My Behavior and Motivators assessment gives you these tips on how to manage and motivate me, based on my behavioral style (how I do the job) and values (what motivates me to be a superior performer).

Here’s how to motivate Annette (based on her wants):

Annette wants:

The chance to have fun (play hard–work hard).
Praise, popularity, and strokes.
Public recognition of her ideas and results.
A manager who practices participative management.
No close supervision.
Working conditions with freedom to move and to talk to people.
Freedom from control and detail.

Here’s how to manage Annette (based on her needs):

Annette needs:

Better organization of record keeping.
More logical presentations – less emotional.
Help on controlling time and setting priorities.
To know results expected and to be evaluated on the results.
People to work and associate with.
To adjust her intensity to match the situation.

Annette’s assessment also tells you how to communicate successfully with her:


Provide questions, alternatives and choices for making her own decisions.
Provide testimonials from people she sees as important.
Provide ideas for implementing action.
Support the results, not the person, if you agree.
Deal with details in writing, have her commit to modes of action.


Let disagreement reflect on her personally.
Be dictatorial.
Drive on to facts, figures, alternatives or abstractions.
Be curt, cold or tight-lipped.
Direct or order.
Talk down to her.

The Workplace Motivators section of the assessment gives you these tips:

Realize that it’s not just money that motivates, but also personal payback from the job.
Assure that economic rewards are fair, clearly communicated, and provide a high-end return.
Be certain to reward performance, and encourage participation as an important member of the team.
Remember that Annette has a keen ear to the revenue-clock. This may give her a keen economic awareness in projects and decision-making with the team.
Provide coaching to help Annette appreciate that not everybody is highly-motivated by wealth, return-on-investment and gain like she is.
Provide rewards and incentives for participation in additional training and professional development.

If you manage me by doing these things, I will love my job and appreciate you. I will be motivated to do my best for you and the company because I feel you understand and appreciate me.

Good managers practice the Platinum Rule: “Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.” There’s no better way to know how to manage people than with an accurate, validated assessment that tells you specifically what to do and not to do with each person you manage.

Of course, superior performance begins with hiring the right people. The best way to do that is to use a job benchmark assessment and employee assessments to determine job fit. That, too, is a key to job satisfaction and employee retention.