Confident Your Best Employees Will Say 'No' to the 4.3 Job Offers They'll Get This Year? Holding on to talent is tough. But there are ways to stop the poaching of your best employees.

By Heather R. Huhman

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Great talent is hard to come by. Retaining that talent, however, can be even more difficult. When it comes down to it, employers want professionals with a proven track record -- and they're prepared to pay for them. In fact, a 2017 Qualtrics survey of 800 recently promoted American workers found that, on average, top performers receive 4.3 new job offers a year.

That's a lot of temptation.

Related: 7 Strategic Ways to Increase Employee Retention While Reducing Costs

Often, startup companies don't have the resources to match higher salary offers. But, fortunately, there are other ways to keep top employees from being poached. By understanding the unique needs of these employees, companies on a budget can retain great talent.

Here are four perks and benefits to offer that won't break the bank:

Flexible work

Ashik Ahmed is the CEO of Deputy, the New South Wales, Australia, workforce-management platform. When a top employee's significant other had to move to another country, Ahmed, as CEO, had to get creative to retain his team member.

"She expressed how much she enjoyed being part of Deputy, and we saw her as an integral part of the team," Ahmed said via email. Working together, they agreed she would work remotely full time and come into the main office every few months. The rest of the time, another employee would manage the day-to-day operations of her team.

Ahmed went on to say that this situation doesn't always work with all roles or employees. But to retain valuable employees, you may find it's worth a shot.

Sit down with employees who'd like more flexible work options and discuss the various situations that could play out with them away from the office. Think about past challenges they have overcome. If they were telecommuting at the time, could they have achieved equal success? Asking yourself these questions will provide you a plan of action for getting ahead of potential issues.

Customized roles

One great thing about startups is that they are always growing and changing. This constant change provides leaders with an opportunity to create unique roles employees can't find anywhere else.

For example, two years ago, the New York-based preventative technology maintenance company Augury hired an employee with a Ph.D in physics. This man was a great member of the company's algorithm team, but it was clear his passion was research and development. As Augury grew, co-founder and CEO Saar Yoskovitz saw moving this employee to the company's new research department as the obvious choice.

Related: Employee Retention : Why it Remains a Daunting Task at Startups

When new responsibilities develop at your company, ask for volunteers to take on these tasks. This will show what employees' interests are and where they'd like their careers to go. Over time, a new role will emerge that engages your top performers. Just be sure to adjust their titles and compensation accordingly.

Transparent leadership

Transparency by leaders at all levels of an organization makes employees feel important and valued. Sarah Howe, director of talent management at Chicago insurance claims platform Snapsheet, found that transparency at her company greatly impacts retention. She discovered this when she asked one of her top performers what kind of opportunity might pull her away from the company.

"She responded that as long as I continued to offer her insight into the organization and transparency with information, she'd happily continue to work for me," Howe said in an email. "She was loyal to the organization and to me because I offered her honesty."

Make sure executives and managers understand the importance of transparency. Model the correct behavior by actively sharing the information they want and need.

This is especially important when you're providing employees with feedback. They need to understand where they stand and how they fit into the team. Employees feel valued and respected when leaders give them concrete examples of what they're doing well and how to improve.

Work-focused benefits

Benefits shouldn't be aimed solely at improving employee loyalty, but also at helping employees become better at their jobs.

Manny Medina is the CEO of the Seattle-based sales engagement platform Outreach. He points out that there's no point in offering a benefit if it will cause the employee to feel disengaged. In that case, the employee will leave anyway.

At Outreach, for example, the sales team is mostly remote. However, team members can still see and interact with customers, and therefore realize success. But for a more collaborative department, like engineering, performance suffers when employees aren't in the same location.

"At the end of the day, what great people really want is to be professionally and personally fulfilled," Medina said in an email. "You want to be the company that gives them that opportunity every day."

Related: Expert Tips For Efficient Employee Retention Strategy

Before rolling out new trendy perks and benefits, ask "How will this help employees be better?" Focus on ways benefits can relieve stressors that are distracting people. That way, top performers can continue to be happy and engaged at work.

Wavy Line
Heather R. Huhman

Career and Workplace Expert; Founder and President, Come Recommended

Waldorf, Md.-based Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager and president of Come Recommended, the PR solution for job search and HR tech companies. She writes about issues impacting the modern workplace.

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