You know that feeling when you’re about to lose something or someone important in your life? Your stomach drops and you can’t breathe, and it feels like the world is ending. That’s how we feel every time one of our star performers leaves. It’s not just the productivity hit—it’s also the emotional loss of having a great person leave. We want to keep them happy and engaged, so they stay with us forever!
In this article, I share some ideas for keeping your top talent happy.
Understand the challenges that can trigger turnover.
Top performers are those who produce, produce, produce. These employees are the backbone of the organization, consistently exceeding expectations and delivering exceptional results. They are the ones who drive innovation, generate revenue, and positively impact the culture of the company. They are also the least likely to ask for help when they need it.
During COVID, they were the ones that went the extra mile. And despite how much they’ve been able to do, they are not machines. Everyone has their limit and these employees are starting to fall apart. When they do, you might find yourself with another resignation letter.
Losing a top performer can feel like a gut punch to any company. For companies to address the turnover issue, they first have to understand the stressors their employees face.
Stress is a combination of high demands and low resources. When you’re under stress, your body releases cortisol, which can be helpful in the short term but over time leads to burnout. Burnout is associated with turnover because it makes workers feel exhausted and disengaged at work–and they may look for a new job where they have more control over their workloads or have fewer responsibilities overall.
If you want to keep your top talent from walking out the door due to burnout or other forms of job stress, start by understanding what’s causing them so much stress in the first place:
- Are there too many demands on employees’ time? Are these demands coming from customers or management?
- Do employees feel like they don’t have enough resources available (time off from work when needed; clear boundaries between personal life vs professional life)?
- Is there enough support from management?
- Are they appreciated for their efforts, neglected, or actively undermined?
Managing demands is crucial in keeping top talent in your company. Scaling back excessive workloads and reducing demands on your top performers is a good place to start. If it’s not possible to reduce workload due to company culture or other constraints, consider offering incentives such as bonuses, performance bonuses, or paid time off for extra hours worked. Hiring additional staff can also help reduce the workload for employees.
It’s important to create a work culture that supports work-life balance. Policies that encourage employees to take time off and have the flexibility to work remotely can help. Communicate these policies and expectations clearly throughout your organization so everyone understands what’s expected of them. Managing expectations is also essential in preventing burnout and resentment. Avoid asking employees to do more than they can handle and consider hiring temporary help or outsourcing work if necessary.
Providing resources and building a mentoring program can also be helpful in managing demands. Employees who lack the necessary tools to succeed may experience frustration and poor performance, negatively impacting morale and productivity. A mentoring program can help employees learn from those with more experience, closing skill gaps and increasing overall performance. By managing demands and providing necessary resources and support, companies can retain their top talent and create a positive work environment.
Managing resources effectively can help prevent turnover by meeting the needs of individual employees. It’s important to recognize that everyone has different needs and preferences, whether it’s for more structure or more flexibility in their work environment. Providing resources that cater to these needs can make a significant difference in retaining top talent.
There are various resources that companies can offer to meet the needs of their employees. For instance, providing a space for employees to work from home can increase flexibility and allow them to work in a comfortable environment. Additionally, flexible hours can enable employees to attend important events, such as their child’s soccer game or doctor’s appointments. Offering time off for volunteering at local charity events can also demonstrate a company’s commitment to social responsibility, providing an opportunity for employees to give back to their community while feeling supported by their employer.
It’s essential to identify the specific resources that will be most valuable to employees and provide them in a way that is accessible and user-friendly. Employers who recognize and meet the needs of their employees are more likely to retain their top talent, reducing turnover rates and promoting a positive work environment. By providing resources that meet the needs of individual employees, companies can create a culture of support and respect, leading to increased job satisfaction and productivity.
Create an environment where people feel valued and supported
Leaders play a critical role in creating a supportive environment that fosters employee retention. One way to achieve this is by actively listening to employees and being open-minded to their input. By asking questions and seeking feedback, leaders can better understand their employees’ needs, concerns, and preferences. This can lead to more effective communication, trust-building, and increased employee engagement.
Being honest and transparent about company goals, expectations, and direction is also key to building a supportive environment. This helps employees feel like they are part of a bigger picture and can help them understand how their work fits into the company’s overall strategy. Additionally, this transparency can help build trust and credibility between leaders and employees, promoting a more positive work environment.
Finally, ensuring that the work itself is meaningful and challenging is essential to keeping top talent engaged and motivated. Boredom and complacency can lead to decreased job satisfaction and ultimately increase the likelihood of turnover. Leaders can help combat this by providing opportunities for professional growth and development, challenging assignments, and clear paths for advancement. By creating an environment that supports growth and offers meaningful work, leaders can retain their top talent and promote a positive and productive workplace culture.
Next level advice from The Burnout Panel
Recently, the Burnout Panel hosted a live discussion about high turnover rates and what companies can do about them. This panel consists of six women experts in burnout including:
- Vanessa Zamy, the Business Defibrillator™
- Aileen Axtmayer, who helps overwhelmed professionals land fulfilling jobs and thrive at work through career coaching and customized corporate wellness workshops
- Audrey Holst, who rewires perfectionism into excellence
- Cait Donovan, who works with organizations to reduce burnout so they can keep top talent
- Dr. Sandra Lewis, who is a Personal Energy Strategist
- Dr. Sharon Grossman, the Burnout Doc, specializing in creating a workplace environment where employees are engaged, productive, and fulfilled by addressing and preventing burnout.
Here are the top tips from the panel:
Tip 1: Recognize warning signs of burnout
It is important for leaders to recognize warning signs such as a reduction in productivity, a change in attitude, and interpersonal conflict.
Tip 2: Empathy
It is crucial for leaders to understand the needs of their employees. In order to do so, they need to be curious and ask questions with the goal of understanding.
Tip 3: Communication
- Encourage open communication about how employees feel can prevent burnout and promote better performance.
- Have regular check-ins with employees to assess their well-being
- Create a safe space for employees to open up.
Tip 4: Support
- Leaders should provide support and resources to help employees manage burnout, especially during economic downturns where there may be less staff.
- It is crucial to create a collective support system and build a relational connection with employees to reduce the risk of burnout.
- Sending employees to an executive coach or HR can provide a safe space for them to be heard and prevent a situation from escalating.
Tip 5: Transparency
- It’s crucial to keep employees informed and updated about what is going on in the company and provide a sense of hope and potential solutions.
- Over-communicating is better than under-communicating in these situations.
As you can see, there are many things that companies can do to help their employees stay engaged and happy at work. By keeping an eye on turnover rates and looking for areas where turnover might be triggered, you can proactively address any problems before they become serious issues. This will not only save your company money in the long run but also help keep your team productive and motivated so that they feel supported at all times!
And, of course, you can reach out to The Burnout Panel to address your company’s needs to minimize turnover and keep your top talent.
Want me to speak to your organization about managing stress? Check out my keynote, “Flip Your Mindset.”
Do you want to get my Burnout Checklist for free?
I’ve created a checklist to help you identify signs of burnout and steps to take to get immediate results. Curious?
Click here to get the checklist.
Dr. Sharon Grossman, AKA the Burnout Doc, is a clinically trained psychologist and subject matter expert in burnout and mental health. Associations and Fortune 500 companies hire her to be their closing keynote speaker, to help their members and executives crack the code on burnout, and create custom-tailored solutions for recovery.
Over the past 20 years, Dr. Sharon has been helping high achievers who are struggling with anxiety, overwhelm, and burnout go from exhausted to extraordinary by better understanding how their brain works and how they can design and run their programming on purpose to live the kind of life they want to live. She is the author of several books on burnout and mindset and host of the Decode Your Burnout podcast. Through her speaking, training, and coaching, she helps organizations keep their top talent.