By Emily LaDrig

Retaining top talent is key to your company’s long-term productivity, effectiveness, and success. So knowing what makes people happy at work is super important.

It’s really pretty simple. A company can keep their employees when the culture is good, the work is interesting, and everyone gets along. In the first quarter of last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that twice as many workers under 35 changed jobs as those aged 35 to 54.

The industries most affected are those already suffering from major labor shortages (including healthcare, manufacturing and construction) and traditionally low-paying industries such as food service and retail.

And I think it goes without saying, but I’m saying it. Everyone likes to be respected and recognized for their contributions.

Get payroll, benefits, HR & compliance, all in one place with Justworks.
We use it and love it and think you will too! Check them out here.

To keep valued employees happy, you may need to make some accommodations you wouldn’t do in a tougher job market. Things like letting employees leave early for doctor appointments or a child’s school play without docking wages can make a big difference in employee loyalty.

Today I'm sharing with you the top 7 reasons that talented employees stay with a company.

1. Benefits & Incentives

Some of the most effective benefits and incentives are greater working independence like working from home or other places, opportunities to develop new skills or talents, and, of course, performance bonuses.

Health insurance is by far the most desired employee benefit, so if you’re not already offering this, investigate the cost of doing so. It’s okay (in fact, expected) to ask employees to share some of the premium costs; you can have this taken out of their paychecks pretax. If you’ve already got the basic health insurance in place, look into adding extras such as dental and vision coverage.

Employee's smiling and having fun at work2. Satisfaction with the Environment

A clean and organized workplace with a lively atmosphere, ample space, and sufficient facilities is crucial to maintain employee morale. The opportunity to socialize and collaborate is a big part of workplace synergy.

Little extras like bringing in breakfast or lunch once a week, or providing donuts and bagels on Fridays can go a long way. If every week is a bit tough on your bottom line, consider doing it once a month even. Or, think of other ways to reward employees, like closing down the office early on summer Friday afternoons.

3. Financial Compensation

Obviously being paid, and paid fairly, for your hard work is key. When you throw in bonuses and incentives to supplement it, it really provides the stability that people need to be happy and not starting looking elsewhere to make ends meet.

Being open to the possibility of pay raises in the future with long-term tenure and continued good performance is also super motivating.

4. Great Relationships with Leadership

Those who strive to prove themselves every single day should be commended for their work ethic. Those who may be falling behind should be consoled and sympathized with, which can be motivation to perform better.

Above all, connecting with employees and forming true relationships is a huge factor in forming a harmonious workplace.

5. Challenge and Excitement

People want to be engaged with challenging work that piques their interest and makes the most of their technical and interpersonal skills. Being able to complete projects with a dynamic and well-balanced team is motivating.

Assess your employees’ workloads and, if necessary, find ways to redistribute the work, outsource it, or even hire a new person to handle some of the tasks. Employees who are less stressed out are less likely to look for greener pastures.

Employees Concept. Word on Folder Register of Card Index. Selective Focus.6. Mentorship

Learning from more experienced employees of the company can make things easier for new and less experienced employees.

Mentorship is conducive to learning on the job with a more hands-on approach. Plus, mentorship is not just for seasoned employees to teach the newbies. Many companies are also having new employees and employees of different ages mentoring others.

7. Work-Life Balance

This is essential to your employees productivity. Too much overtime can really dampen the excitement level of your employees. Providing a fair amount of sick leave and vacation time is great motivation for your employees to take ample rest and recovery time. It also ensures that employees go back to work with a renewed sense of purpose and excitement to perform.

Possibly above all else, people are motivated to be part of something that’s not only about making a profit, but also about providing a quality service or game-changing solution to the world.

So if you’re worried about losing your top talent, consider using some of these tactics to keeping them happy and satisfied with their work.


Emily LaDrig is the Chief Execution Officer at Excelerate America, the ultimate resource for modern entrepreneurs. Have you ever lost a prized employee to lack of incentives? What do you do to keep employee morale up? Share your stories with Emily at

Get our free Social Strategy Worksheet
Featuring 3 steps to kickstarting your brand's social following.

Two creative millenial small business owners working on social media strategy using a digital tablet while sitting in staircase-2

You may also like:

5 Ways Leaders Create Capacity For Their Business

One of the hottest topics among business development experts today is “capacity.” It’s a term that d...

The Best Bosses Do These 7 Things

Your company could spend all the money it wants recruiting, interviewing, and hiring the best people...

Do You Really Need An Internal Collaboration Tool For Your Small Business?

If you answered yes, then Facebook’s Workplace may be the answer.