In last month’s blog post, we presented “6 Key Factors for Motivating Employees Who Are Unmotivated.”  This month, we’re going to explore steps for keeping your best employees satisfied.

Given the current state of the economy, you might think that those people who are employed would be happy to have a job.  However, there’s a difference between “being happy to have a job” and “being satisfied with that job,” and this is also the case with superstar performers.

Actually, when you consider that these top performers are often asked to shoulder additional duties and responsibilities (in part because they’re such good workers), this dynamic could especially be the case.  So first and foremost, let’s face the facts: there’s a good chance that one of the top performers on your team is not satisfied with some aspect of their job—and it might be with more than one aspect.

What can you do about this?  What should you do about this?  Below are six steps for keeping your best employees (your A-players) satisfied:

  1. Identify who the A-players are on your team.
  2. Make sure that your A-players are satisfied with their job.  To achieve this, you might have to engage in a face-to-face conversation.
  3. If you discover that some of your A-players aren’t satisfied, then find out why they’re not satisfied and take the necessary action steps to rectify the situation.
  4. Going forward, always compliment good performance. This could be verbal or non-verbal.  Send an email, shake a hand, pat a back . . . whatever will express your appreciation.
  5. Reward individual performance publicly (i.e., in front of the person’s peers) or in an even more tangible fashion, with an award or reward of some kind (plaque, trophy, gift certificate, etc).
  6. Reward everybody by creating a more fun work environment.  Hold a “food day” or a pizza party for having met team goals or allow employees to dress up for a holiday.  The more fun you make the environment (and the company culture), the more satisfied ALL employees will be.

You need your top-performing employees to stay competitive in the marketplace.  However, whether or not they stay with your company or look elsewhere depends in large part on how satisfied they are.

Take the six steps outlined above to ensure that your A-players—and all members of your team—are on the same page, completely satisfied, and ready to tackle your goals for the year in a big way!