What can you do to make sure your employees are happy, and ultimately, not jumping the fence to the next organization? In the midst of expanding litigation over Silicon Valley's common practice of "No Poaching Amongst Friendly Rivals" recruiting rule, I think it's important to emphasize that a retention strategy is a defensive strategy. What tactics should go into a strong one? Start by answering the following three questions.

1. What kind of business culture do I need to retain talent?

What this culture looks like depends on your talent and what matters most to them. Is it your benefits or promotion process? Or maybe it's your communication transparency? My advice to companies that are worried about retention is to focus on "how do I make this company a great place?" rather than, "what do I need to do so people do not want to leave?"

2. How much more should I pay to keep employees from leaving?

I'm sorry to say, you will never be able to overpay all your competitors for talent or offer all the amazing perks of other companies. However, you can build relationships with your employees. Start to listen to them, respond to their questions and concerns, and be active and attentive to what kinds of things they want and what makes their hearts sing. If you do not listen to your employees today, they will find someone who will...quickly.

3. How do I make sure my company is perfect for all my talent?

Enlightened companies should always want the best for their employees, even if it means another job in another company is right for them. Your company likely will not be the right place for every one of your employees in every stage of their career. Circulation is good for the body and it's good for your company because hiring new people brings in new ideas and people leaving creates opportunities for others to step up and learn and grow.

What are you doing at your organization to keep your talent happy and engaged? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Published on: Mar 3, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.