How to Keep Star Employees Engaged

You know it when you see it. The employee who greets returning customers like an old friend. The one who takes on a problem and solves it (even before you know about it). The one that other workers want to be around. That’s a star employee and he or she is gold to your business. Star employees keep customers coming back and raise the bar for other employees. So how do you keep them engaged? Consider these low-cost ideas to keep your star employees shining bright.

When it comes to engaged employees, small businesses may have the edge over larger companies. Owners tend to interact more with employees. Some suggest that means they have more opportunities to get and provide feedback. It’s that ongoing dialogue that aligns their actions with your business goals.

Here are three ways to keep your high-performers engaged (and spread it to other employees):

  1. Ask them what they think. Ever felt complemented when someone asks your opinion? That’s how employees feel too. It demonstrates that you value their experience and engages them as a partner in helping to solve problems. They feel heard. And they might just have a great idea that you haven’t even considered.
  2. Push decision-making down. Employees who have to clear all decisions with the boss often feel detached from the business. Consider giving employees the power to resolve customer issues on their own. They might give customers a small discount on their purchase, waive the delivery fee or upgrade a purchase. You establish the perimeters but the result is that employees feel more empowered and accountable for customer satisfaction.
  3. Always swim with a buddy. Remember this rule from summer camp? Sure, it kept the struggling swimmer out of trouble. But think of how it made the buddy feel. Not only did they have to stay afloat, but they were given a larger purpose too. What about pairing a star employee with a newer associate? It demonstrates your confidence in the veteran's ability and provides him or her with a new challenge. This mentoring relationship helps you establish a culture of engagement.

Size works in favor of small businesses when it comes to keeping star employees engaged. After all, you have more opportunity to interact with employees and align their efforts with your business goals. Consider these three low-cost ideas to raising the bar on employee engagement.

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