Researchers say that your highest performers are 400 percent more productive than the rest of your employees. Imagine a workplace filled with this much potential and enthusiasm. If every employee worked at this level, companies would consistently deliver better products and services--more quickly and less expensively--and with happier customers.

Unfortunately, all this employee performance bliss is a short-term thing--many of the highest performers leave for better opportunities. In fact, one in four will leave within the year. But, what if we could entice them to stick around for a while? Here are 15 things you can do that will make your highest performers want to stay.

1. Provide new hires with a well thought-out orientation program--one that demonstrates that you are committed to them and truly want them to feel comfortable and welcomed, and be successful in the long haul.

2. Place a lot of weight on competitive compensation, merit-based rewards, and bonuses.

3. Explain to your high performers why they are being given an assignment and what skills they will improve upon or learn from the experience.

4. Give their assignments a purpose beyond just paper shuffling--stretch their abilities and encourage them to learn and grow.

5. Avoid tenure-based pay or any kind of payment system that does not value the level of performance.

6. Provide regular feedback. High performers expect and appreciate a check-in at least once a month.

7. Support them in their desire to participate in formal training and development programs.

8. Explain how their contributions are moving the company forward and how they can contribute.

9. Give them kudos, but explain specifically what it is they are doing to deserve them. If they hear, "Good job!" too often--without any specifics--they will discount your praise, and perhaps look for an employer who is more sincere.

10. Ask them what it will take to make them stay another year or two and what their aspirations within the company are.

11. Offer leadership-development opportunities and consider them for the next generation of leadership.

12. Link their work with those of the corporation and include them in the process of solving company-wide issues.

13. Recognize them publicly for their contributions.

14. Consider offering them flexible schedule options and the chance to work from home, which demonstrates a high level of trust.

15. If you lose one of your high performers, plan an exit interview. Understanding the reasons for the loss can be enlightening and a game changer--stemming future turnover.

Published on: Mar 27, 2015