FACT: Star performers can leave anytime. Mediocre employees will probably stay, and poor performers will normally never leave. Star performers have options and are in constant demand. If they aren’t happy, they can easily find work elsewhere. Mediocre and poor performers are happy to work for you because there aren’t many other companies that want them. So, you want to keep the stars, nurture the mediocre into stars, and weed out the poor performers. Easier said than done, right?

Exceptional people are scarce, costly, and highly mobile. Turnover is an expensive problem for a small business. You invest time and money in a person and then they leave. Add to that the fact that in many cases a small business can’t afford to hire the exceptional person nor can they afford not to hire them, so they are caught “between a rock and a hard place.”

How do you retain stars? Why would they stay with your company when they get an offer for more money somewhere else? Everyone has different motivations.  Numerous studies show that money isn’t always the highest priority. Seven key elements in retaining stars.


  1. Vision – Are your employees excited about the long-term vision for your company? Would you follow someone who doesn’t know where they are going?


  1. Fundamental Purpose – Do your employees believe in your purpose (how you help people and make the world a better place)? When you believe in a purpose or cause, you are excited to get up and go to work every day.


  1. Fundamental Values – Do your employees share your values? Your values define who you are as a person and as a company. Would you stay with a company that violates your values?


  1. Fundamental Operating Principles – Are your employees comfortable with your culture and “how things are done” at your company?


Vision and fundamental purpose, values, and operating principles are discussed in more detail in The Alligator Business Solution – Small Business Competitive Advantage https://alligatorbusinesssolution.com/


  1. Future Opportunities – Do your stars have a future with your company. Most stars are ambitious, and they want to know this? Do they have advancement or potential ownership opportunities?
  2. Recognition – People want their contribution recognized and to feel like they are contributing to a winning team. They want to know how they are doing, and that doesn’t mean just once a year! Recognize accomplishment when it occurs, but make sure it is deserved. Recognition for achievement shouldn’t be confused with acknowledgment of a person, attention to their needs, or encouragement. Recognition for non-achievement is not encouragement and can result in discouragement.


  1. Appreciation – Employees want to know that their contribution is appreciated. There are numerous inexpensive ways to show appreciation. A good book with many ideas is The Best Place To Work by Dr. Ron Friedman.


These seven keys are not about a bigger paycheck. Star employees are more likely to stay because of where you are going, how you make the world a better place, the values you believe in, how your company operates, and whether they feel recognized and appreciated. As one young star said, “I moved to South Carolina because I wanted to work for this company even though the pay was less than I was making in Texas. I believe in who they are, what they stand for, and where they are going.”


Courtesy of Roy Austin, Rockwell Business Solutions
Phone:  843-597-4826