As unemployment is dropping and good talent is becoming harder to find, many business leaders have a nagging fear that someone is going to leave them. Someone important. Someone critical. If you’re worried about the threat of losing one of your all-stars, there are a few things that you can do to try and keep them happy, and more importantly, keep them here.

Talk to Them

Even if you have an open-door policy, not all employees are willing to speak up when things are wrong. Make a point to seek them out, and talk with them about their goals, plans for future growth, and also any problems that they may be having. And don’t just do it at their annual review; join them for a one-on-one lunch date, away from the office, where they may relax a bit. You may be surprised at what you learn.

Focus on Wellness

Letting your employees know that you are concerned about their wellbeing should be a no-brainer at this point. Multiple studies have shown a link between employee wellness and employee engagement and productivity, but not everyone knows exactly what that means, or how to bring wellness focus into the workplace.

Support Their Outside Lives

Part of employee wellness is focusing on work-life balance, not just what they do for you. If it’s important for someone to make it to a child’s soccer game every Tuesday afternoon, why not let them work ½ an hour longer the other days so that they can take off early once a week? They’re still putting in the same number of hours, but you’re relieving some of the stress of having to balance family obligations against work.

Trust Them

If you hired someone because they are qualified to do a certain job let them do it. Trust that your employees know what their responsibilities are, and that they will come to you if they run into any trouble. Otherwise, back off and give them the space to succeed. Micromanaging competent employees is not only frustrating, it can increase anxiety and make them feel as though they aren’t doing well.

Ask Them

If you’re wondering what you can do to make someone’s job a little better or a little easier, one of the best ways to find out is to just ask. You might learn that the employee who prints the most documents sits farthest from the printer and spends half the day walking back and forth, and the guy whose job is paperless is right next to it and hates the constant noise. A simple rearrangement of seating and cubicles might make everyone happy, but you won’t know if you don’t ask.

Recognize Achievements

Everyone likes to be praised. Yes, it’s their job, but when they’re doing it well, it doesn’t hurt to let them know. When someone puts in 14-hour days for a week straight putting together a report for a client that they won’t even meet, it’s very easy to overlook the work that they did. Make sure that you’re giving credit where credit is due, and that your team knows that you are aware of their contributions.

Express Gratitude

While praise for a job well done is warranted, even more important is to be genuinely grateful when someone goes the extra mile, and to thank them. If someone steps in at the last minute and covers a meeting when another employee is out sick, thank them. Anytime you know that an employee has gone above their normal duties to ensure that things continue smoothly, they deserve your appreciation.

None of these things cost much money, and they can all add significant value to your workplace in the eyes of your employees. Remember that the most important assets your organization has are its employees, and keeping them happy should be your number one goal.


Rachel is a mother of 2 beautiful boys. She loves to hike and write about travelling, education and business. She is a Senior Content Manager at Populationof an online resource with information about