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High Performance: Retaining the good ones

April 14, 2014 -  By

Do you have difficulty retaining good employees, whereas the duds seem to hang around forever? If so, it’s time to take some common-sense steps toward fixing this problem. Solutions do exist, although some are easier to implement than others.

First of all, it’s important to recognize that good employees know they’re good and aren’t going to settle for a mediocre situation. Good employees want certain things in order to remain engaged. If they don’t see what they like, they may be easy targets for your competitors. After all, the grass is always greener on the other side.

Good employees want to be challenged. They want to grow in their professional lives. Stagnation leads to boredom, which is the kiss of death. Managers would do well to make sure that good employees are constantly learning, growing and being stretched.

In many situations, good employees are held back precisely because they’re good in a certain situation and will be difficult to replace. Sadly, this is very common and almost always results in dissatisfaction or turnover. Even a six-month period without change feels like eternity for an ambitious employee.

Not only do good employees want to be challenged and grow, they want to know what the next step is in their career ladder. They want to know what they’re working toward. Managers of good employees need to stay one step ahead of these motivated people to ensure that the roadmap is clear. Even if a promotion isn’t in sight, good employees want to have a goal in front of them. Make it happen.

Good employees want to have their voices heard and to receive support. They want to hear “yes” more than “no” in response to their suggestions and requests for assistance. They want to feel like they’re making a difference, not just collecting a paycheck.

Good employees may come across as a bit “high-maintenance” from time to time, and maybe they are, but so what? Would you rather have an engaged employee with lots of ideas or a ho-hum employee who is just taking up space?

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About the Author:

Phil Harwood is a Senior Advisor with Tamarisk Business Advisors. Contact him at

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