Do I Need an Engagement and Retention Strategy for High Performers?
December 5, 2019

You only need an engagement and retention strategy for high performers if you want them to remain in your organization! For much of the past decade, organizations everywhere have been dealing with an unprecedented challenge: keeping their talent pipelines full despite historically low unemployment rates. In this environment, businesses no longer have the upper hand and job-hopping has become the “new normal”.

Let’s augment this challenge with these stark realities:

  1. Employees are likely to leave for other jobs if they are not engaged in their current jobs.
  2. The tight labor market makes it easier than ever for employees to leave.
  3. The direct costs of turnover are often estimated at 1-2 times salary with indirect costs (job vacancy, recruiting costs) taking the total cost even higher.
  4. A disengaged employee costs the average organization $3,400 per $10,000 of annual salary.

In order to effectively address this challenge, HR departments need to create a sustainable Employee Engagement and Retention Strategy as part of the company’s business initiatives.
The critical components of such a strategy are:

  1. Employee development
  2. Job satisfaction
  3. Employer perception
  4. Co-worker relationships
  5. Employee health
  6. Communication effectiveness

Let’s take a closer look at each of these components:

Employee Development

Employee Development is one of the biggest keys to employee engagement and retention. A recent survey found that 94% of employees would remain with their current company if it invested in their careers. Such investments include a tuition reimbursement program, classroom training, eLearning opportunities, cross training initiatives, special project assignments and mentor programs. Your top performers are thinking about their careers continuously.

Job Satisfaction

For many years, the biggest retention factor for the average employee was money. Today, this has started to change with younger workers prioritizing their quality of work life as the most important retention factor, often measured by flexible work arrangements. In fact, one of the key parts of this flexibility is a better work/life balance. 42% of employees rank this factor as a reason to stay in their current positions and 89% of companies that offer flexible work arrangements experience greater retention rates.

Employer Perception

Employer perception measures the degree to which employers recognize employees. One study found that the simple act of acknowledging employee contributions increased retention by 27%. No amount of recognition is too much, as long as it is deserved, specific and not patronizing. This is the most cost-effective feature of an employee engagement and retention plan. It is also important to employees that poor performers are addressed.

Employee Health

Today’s workforce is looking for not only health and dental plans, but also an EAP(Employee Assistance Program) to assist employees with personal issues that may be impacting their work. Co-worker relationships are critical and require organizations to train managers in collaborative work behaviors. These skills allow managers to provide support, assistance and encouragement when needed. Establishing team performance goals also provides an opportunity to create stronger work relationships.

Communication Effectiveness

Poor communication negatively impacts employee morale very quickly. The organization that creates an effective communication strategy incorporating ongoing written, verbal and digital communication has a leg up. Make the communication two-way for maximum impact.

Keep in mind that over 75% of the causes of employee turnover are preventable, but only if you solicit and act on them. To develop an engagement and retention strategy for your organization’s high performers, contact KardasLarson today.

Cheryl Chester

Cheryl Chester


With 25+ years HR experience, Cheryl's focus includes leadership development, OD, performance management, employee engagement, and succession planning.


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KardasLarson is a human resources and business consulting firm that maximizes employee performance so people and organizations prosper.



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