Ron Demonet Ron Demonet

Holding On to Key Employees

August 15, 2023

In any organization, your key people are your most valuable assets.  The big question is, how do you keep them?  Most would say that you simply must keep them content and engaged; easier said than done nowadays.

Today’s workforce is more volatile than ever, with the voluntary turnover rate in organizations at an all-time high.  Young workers actively rethink their career choices and seek a work environment that offers more--more money, more personal time, more job satisfaction, and more personal development.

Take note: It’s not just about the money; much more goes into the job-satisfaction formula. We tend to hire people based on the skills and perceived potential they bring to the organization.  Seldom do we truly understand an employee’s concerns, needs, motivations and personal life situations.  To keep employees engaged, managers must show that they care about them as people and are not just “using” them.  It is easy to say you care, but how are you displaying your sincerity? Remember: Actions speak louder than words.

How to Display Sincerity

  • Help employees to help themselves 

People perform their best when experiencing balance in their lives—they tend to be happier and more motivated and engaged with everything.  Work-life balance is a key factor in employee retention.  As an employer, work to help your team members achieve balance.  Don’t seek to pry into their personal lives; rather, simply help them help themselves.

One simple way to accomplish this: Bring in an independent life coach who periodically comes to the office, say once every week or two, to work with your key people during the workday.  Coaching sessions would be relatively short (about 45 min.) so as to not have a significant impact on their work. 

Make it clear that anything discussed during coaching sessions remains strictly confidential.  The life coach would create a safe space that allows employees to explore their personal concerns and challenges, and then helps them develop healthy ways to bring more fulfillment and meaning into their lives—a path to balance. 

Helping employees find balance and satisfaction in all aspects of their lives translates into them being more inspired, motivated and engaged at work, a win-win for everyone!

  • Honor their causes

Most everyone has a personal cause for which they advocate to some degree.  You can be sure that your employees have a cause personally and emotionally important to them.  While numerous and varied, these causes usually relate to helping vulnerable and underserved groups of people.  Showing you respect your employees’ causes shows you care and respect them as people.

Companies normally give back to their community through monetary or in-kind donations, so your firm likely has this practice in place now.  Typically, the company’s stakeholders decide when and how to make these donations.  Consider this: Get your key employees actively involved in the process and charge them with evaluating community needs and where the organization’s time and money could be best spent.  It could be a simple change to your current process and would accomplish the goal of honoring their causes.

When team members get to work on projects that they feel passionate about, it doesn’t feel like work.  They do it gladly and put their hearts into it—a labor of love.  Remember that the energy and attitude people bring to any area of their life is what they bring to all areas of their lives.  The entire organization benefits when people work in a positive frame of mind. 

  • Encourage community service

As a complement to honoring employees’ causes, find ways to get your employees actively involved in the community.  Helping others in need via local volunteering opportunities proves personally rewarding and allows people to create social connections.  These activities usually occur outside of normal business hours and likely will not affect your company’s operations.

A few typical avenues to community service:

  • Nonprofit organizations often provide programs that rely on volunteers to accomplish an array of activities.  Allow your employees to select the opportunities that fit their personalities.
  • Local service clubs promote community service and provide a venue to meet other professionals in the area—good places to network and establish friendships and business connections.  
  • Governmental departments (parks and recreation, for example) often have programs that need volunteers.  Volunteering with like-minded people proves personally rewarding on many levels. It is healthy for people to get out of the office and into the community.  It can be physically, mentally, and emotionally rewarding.  Such activities also spread the word about your organization and show others how much you care, raising your organization’s perceived relevance and stature in the community.   

A Cost-Effective Strategy

It obviously is a lot more cost-effective to hold on to your key employees than to continually lose and replace them.  The cost to recruit, train and integrate new employees into an organization can be huge, and act as a major distraction to day-to-day operations. 

Showing employees that you care about them is one of the best ways to enhance their job satisfaction and keep them engaged.  Remember: Show that you care through specific, concrete actions, rather than simply “lip service.” MF

Ron Demonet is a certified life coach and loves working with people who want a little coaching as they navigate life. 

Technologies: Management, Training


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