There is nothing worse in business than having your most productive sales people, your most talented research and development staff or your most inspired customer service reps leave for a rival company or a better paid job.

While some staff turnover is to be expected as people’s lives change and they may move to a new area, decide on a complete career change or leave to raise a family; it should be a priority of any successful business to do all it can to retain the best people and keep their workforce loyal. Here are some of the key things to consider when it comes to keeping your top people with you:

Show Your Appreciation Sincerely At All Levels

Being the best at something makes someone an asset, whether that is being the highest performing salesman, the most efficient secretary, or the janitor everybody trusts. This means that those who excel should get just as much of your attention no matter where they fit on the pay scale. After all, finding a new super efficient secretary is often as hard as finding that new department head and will affect their team just as much in one way or another. This means any employee incentives, employee of the month schemes and other ways you use to give recognition to the top performing people must be open to all employees, and should be based on something more than numbers.

Bear in mind however that employee of the month schemes and rewards aren’t the most effective way to make your people feel valued, as they only pick out a few people and even then, often give them something that seems quite token. The best way to make staff feel valued is through their own line management, making sure that they are appreciated and thanked on a daily or weekly basis for consistent good work as well as recognized further up the business on the occasions when they do something outstanding.

Make Career Progression Both Available and Transparent

One of the best ways to inspire true employee loyalty is to make sure your staff feel like they are going somewhere within the company, and that that somewhere is worth getting to. Make sure a decent proportion of your hires into management come from people within the business working their way up, and that these stories are celebrated within the company. People need to be able to see that a talent is recognized and that opportunities are there for them to train and develop themselves to get to the next level, which means that they should know both when this happens for someone else, and what they are actually expected to do to get there themselves.

While you can’t always make actually salaries clear to people, it can help to be able to give an idea or pay scales and on target earnings further up the chain to people at the entry level of your company, so that they can see what kind of salary and lifestyle they will be able to have if they stick with the firm and work hard.

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Today’s guest author, David Waters, heads the sales department of a prominent bank based in Georgia, US. He is an ace chess player and enjoy visiting the local sports club to find new challengers in the sport.