6 ways to make sure MVPs keep playing for your team

businessman holding trophyYou know who they are—the most talented, committed and hardworking members of your team. Part of your job as an HR pro is to help managers create and maintain an environment where these most valuable players feel recognized and challenged—and working for you.

Here’s advice for bosses on the best ways to retain MVPs:

1. Give them ownership of their jobs

Make sure your best employees understand what’s expected of them and when. Provide the necessary information and resources, then get out of the way. People who are allowed to make decisions affecting their work are more inclined to accept responsibility for it.

2. Recognize and reward

Bonuses and raises are great for retention, but team members also crave recognition for their achievements, whether it’s being singled out for praise at a staff meeting or featured in the company newsletter. Another powerful technique is to put the MVP in charge of a new project.

3. Keep open lines of communication

Team members thrive in an atmosphere of trust and collaboration. Encourage MVPs to ask questions, and offer suggestions that can improve workflow and accelerate projects toward successful conclusions. Whenever possible, implement their ideas.

4. Foster an environment of respect

Many employees leave because of a sour relationship with their manager, so treat team members with respect.

“If managers make it a priority to show outward respect for employees on a regular basis, it will lead to a strong and enduring workplace culture, as well as positive experiences and memories that they will never forget,” notes a Harvard Business Review Blog Network post by David Williams and Mary Michelle Scott of the software company Fishbowl.

5. Promote from within

As job openings occur, look to your MVPs first to see whether there’s a potential fit. This rewards team members who have earned a right to be considered, and it shows others that hard work pays off.

6. Be generous with off-duty time

Employees have spouses and families, and they occasionally get sick or have to handle personal emergencies. Businesses that offer a liberal time-off policy see greater employee retention than businesses that don’t.

Williams and Scott say “it is unreasonable to expect a continual level of pressure at 100 percent. Allow employees the chance to catch their breath from one assignment to the next with the help of team-building activities or mini-breaks over the course of the day.”

Sometimes, in spite of a great workplace environment, your MVP may decide it’s time to leave. If that’s the case, use the exit interview to learn how to improve the position for the person’s replacement.

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The manager’s retention role: What stars want from bosses

According to a recent poll, here’s what employees look for from supervisors:

  1. Honesty. 90% say they want honesty and integrity from their manager.
  2. Fairness. 89% want their boss to be fair and to hold all employees accountable to the same standards.
  3. Trust. More than 86% want to trust—and be trusted by—their manager.
  4. Respect. 84% want to respect—and be respected by—their manager.
  5. Dependability. 81% say they want to be able to count on their manager.

Source: What People Want, by Terry Bacon