Eight Ways to Retain and Engage an All-Star Team

As leaders, we often underestimate just how crucial our role is when it comes to engaging and retaining high-performing team members.

However, when you are in a leadership position, you play a significantly influential role in your team members lives, happiness and ultimately their decision to stay (or leave) a company.

In fact, the top 3 reasons why people leave an organisation are:

  1. Lack of coaching/mentoring
  2. Lack of recognition from a manager
  3. Lack of career development opportunities

Don’t believe us?

Here are some important statistics in understanding the impact that leaders have on people’s performance:

  • The biggest driver of an employees’ satisfaction (happiness) in his/her job right now, is the relationship they have with their immediate supervisor
  • A leaders’ mood can have a positive/negative impact of 40% on team productivity for the day
  • 75% of employees who announce their intention to resign and are offered more money, still end up quitting after 3 months
  • 33% of Australian employees take unplanned leave every year due to issues with their immediate manager
  • Leaders who can increase engagement to more than 50-60% see an immediate reduction in unplanned absenteeism by 25%

Ultimately, the statistics make it overwhelmingly clear that people are loyal to people, not companies.  

Therefore, the capabilities of a company’s leadership team will shape the entire culture of the organisation. So,  what can we do as leaders to ensure we engage our team members and help them do their life’s best work?

Here is our list of the 8 critical factors that drive employee engagement and retention:

1: Leadership

In almost all major studies undertaken, the overarching driver of an employee’s general happiness and satisfaction in their job is the relationship they have with their immediate boss. As a leader, it’s therefore, your role first and foremost to inspire your team to want to come into work every day and create an environment that sets them up for success.

2: Sense of Purpose (not just Profits) – “The Cause”

Interestingly, one of the lowest ranking factors behind a person choosing to leave a company is the salary package they were receiving. This indicates that people are generally motivated by far more than profits alone – instead, they want to be part of something bigger than themselves. So ask yourself this question: “Are your people clear about the purpose and cause? Do they understand why you exist as an organisation?

3: Development – Coaching, mentoring & feedback

Retention studies show that the main reasons behind why people leave organisations is because they receive a lack of coaching, mentoring and feedback from their manager.  

If you want to retain and engage your high-performing employees, you need to make it a priority to help them grow into the best versions of themselves and do their best work. A core part of this dynamic is through developing a constant feedback loop and clear direction.

4: Opportunity

Think about the last time you changed jobs… was it because you found a more enticing opportunity? A job that provided you with a greater chance to grow?

The reality is, for high-performing, ambitious individuals, growth is generally one of their key concerns and drivers. So if you want to retain your best employees, ensure they are aware of opportunities for growth within your team and company, and if possible map out a formal plan to help them get to where they want to be.

5: Relationships

Cultivating strong relationships and meaningful connections is one of the most crucial aspects of engaging your team. As we said before “people are loyal to people, not companies”, so ask yourself – how are you building lasting connections with your team? In general, strong workplace relationships are founded upon three foundational elements – trust, care and commitment so if you do want to improve your relationships with the people around you, focus on these things first.

To read more about this check out our article: 3 Critical Elements of Strong Workplace Relationships

6: Values

Ensure your team are aware of not only the company values in a broad sense, but that they understand how these translate into day-to-day performance and interactions with the team and customers.

For many companies, values are the intangible principles that underpin what they do, however often the missing piece of the puzzle is that there are no behaviours associated with the values or way of measuring that they’re actually being lived. 

7: Culture – People First

Simply enforcing certain behaviours onto a team is not the most effective means of driving performance. Instead, if you want to build and retain a high-performance team you need to focus first and foremost on the culture that underpins everything else within your organisation.  

If you’re questioning whether or not you have built an aligned culture within your organisation, think about these five elements: Vision, Purpose, Values, Strategic Priorities and Organisation Foundations.

You can read more about these five elements here.

8: Work/Life Balance

While on the surface working longer hours is often linked to higher levels of productivity, in reality, this isn’t the case. Yes, of course, sometimes you’ll need your team to put in some extra work to meet a deadline, but in general, you should respect your team’s right to proper work/life balance.

Encourage them to spend time with their families, lead healthy and active lifestyles, and engage with passions and pursuits out of the workplace Otherwise you’re at risk creating of creating a team of burnt out, disgruntled employees.


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