Dr Bev Smallwood

Articles Library: Leadership

How to Retain Top Talent

One of the greatest business challenges in an economic market where job opportunities are plentiful is keeping good employees.

The latest studies show:

  • the costs of replacing an employee range from 1 to 2 ½ times the person's yearly salary;
  • From 40 to 50 percent of profit fluctuations may be attributed to employee feelings, opinions, and job motivations;
  • Money alone does not motivate, but instead has the opposite effect on daily performance;
  • When the workplace isn't "fun", the most talented people leave first.

1. A sense of purpose

People want to be a part of something that matters. They must perceive that the company's purpose and goals are in line with their own. People will work very hard and will remain loyal to jobs that have meaning to them.

2. Connection

The research evidence is growing stronger that human connection is absolutely essential to the health of our spirits, our bodies, and our organizations. A deficiency in warm-hearted human connections results in depression and underachievement. Business leaders can promote connections through good communications, by resolving conflicts effectively, and through team experiences...at work as well as outside of work.

3. Appreciation

Find as many ways as possible to show sincerely that you care. (This can't be faked!) Expect the best in them, look for the best, and celebrate the best. Let them know that you appreciate their unique personalities, experiences, and contributions.

4. Control

The need for a sense of control is an even greater need during the changing, insecure, unfamiliar times in which we live. Feeling constantly out of control can become a "cost" in the value equation that undermines morale, productivity, and loyalty to the organization. Give people control in as many ways as possible. Involve them in decisions that affect them. Invite and use their suggestions to make things better. Train and prepare them for evolving job responsibilities.

5. Fun

Studies have shown that fun in the workplace stimulates creativity, builds morale and camaraderie, promotes physical and mental health, and relieves stress. Sponsoring fun activities, as well as modeling an attitude of laughter and fun in the workplace, creates an atmosphere where people want to work.


Building employee value, resulting in commitment and loyalty, makes excellent business sense. Employee value is constantly being calculated. People are always weighing the benefits versus the costs (their investment of time and energy, the hassles, the impact on family and other important areas of their lives) in their experience of work. They ask themselves, "Is it worth it?" When you build into the daily work experience these powerful psychological benefits, the resounding answer will be "Yes!"

Dr. Bev Smallwood is a psychologist and professional speaker who is the author of “This Wasn’t Supposed to Happen to Me.” Visit her website, www.DrBevSmallwood.com; or contact Bev at 601.264.0890 or by email, Bev@DrBevSmallwood.com. Also connect with Bev on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and her blogs, Shrink Rap and New Morning Devotionals.

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