· Nathaly Seruela  · 8 min read

Star Employees: What Makes Them Stay?

There are many reasons why people leave their jobs, but what if you have a star employee that you don’t want to let go yet you’re seeing signs of disengagement – what do you do? You show that you care, that they have a purpose, they are well-compensated, and ensure that they are not yet bored of their jobs.

As the world keeps on rotating, change is inevitable – market prices, gas prices, and rent are over the roof. If you ask a random employee why they stay at their job, best believe that most of the answers you’ll get are ‘gotta pay the bills’.

You might think that they are all about the pay, as much as they have a point, it’s probably that they don’t have other reasons to stay in their company.

Since we spend a big part of our lives in our workplace, staying for one reason is not enough and it will most likely lead to disengagement and end in resignation, so, as a manager, how do you avoid the resignation of your star employees who are diligent, passionate, and who think before they act – how do you make them stay?

Star Employees: What Makes Them Stay?

As we said, retaining star employees requires more than one reason and here are some of the top reasons why star employees stay:


“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” - John F. Kennedy

Having a purpose is one of the best feelings in the world – to know your purpose in a certain situation or location is what motivates people to wake up in the morning and start their day.

Imagine if your star employee knows that he/she has a purpose in the company - besides getting paid -  it might save you time and resources that are used when finding another qualified employee. Plus, their productivity will increase as well as those that work with the star employee, because they are inspired.

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Employees without purpose or even direction may quickly burn out and get disengaged leading to them leaving the company. If you have a star employee in your team, you want for that employee to reach greater heights along with the company. However, if your employee cannot determine the purpose of them staying in your company, they will most likely be gone in a blink of an eye.

If we look at the dictionary, purpose is defined as why we do something or why something exists. As a leader, surely you have a purpose for staying in your company and it is the same with your star employees. If they have a great sense of purpose, this will motivate them to be more engaged and involved in the workplace.

If you make sure that they understand how meaningful their work is, they will have higher levels of fulfillment. With a sense of purpose, even the simplest task can mean something to the doer. You’ll find that these star employees with a sense of purpose will mostly stay in companies that share their own values and goals and their caring for the company will truly show.


“Motivation comes from working on things we care about. It also comes from working with people we care about.” – Sheryl Sandberg

Human interaction is a necessary part of life and is unavoidable. People spend a lot of their lives in their workplace along with their coworkers – imagine spending that huge amount of time with people who don’t vibe with you, you’ll definitely be writing a resignation letter soon enough!

Now this directs us to another reason that star employees stay at their workplace – the people. Being friends with coworkers is one thing, but having such a bond that creates a collaborative effort will certainly help the company achieve its goals as well as increase retention rates.

If your star employees have a great bond with their teammates, then they are motivated to go to work and perform well knowing that the people around them are to be trusted.

If you’re curious about whether or not a team with different personalities can work well together, it can actually be beneficial to have a group made up of different characters.

This even includes you, as their leader, if they look up to you or other managers and know that they are treated with respect, best believe that their interest will not be going away anytime soon.

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“All good leaders are connectors. They relate well and make people feel confident about themselves and their leader.” - John Maxwell

This is self-explanatory – as a leader, you can’t motivate anyone in your team if they don’t feel like they can trust you or if they can’t open up to you. Your star employees need to see that you share the same goals, visions, values, and beliefs.

Star employees also stay for being able to speak their mind without being criticized by their leader – it’s your job to make the workplace a safe place. A good leader knows how to move their team towards a common goal and once your star employees look up to you, they will see you as their mentor – it’s another great reason for them to stay in your company.

As a manager, you should make your star employees feel like they’re growing alongside the company, even then, all of your employees will soon follow your vision and see your goals – which is great progress for your company.

For them to grow with you, make sure they feel appreciated and heard, don’t be afraid to receive feedback from them because it will also help you grow as a leader alongside them.


“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” - Franklin D Roosevelt

Your star employees probably take on everything from the simplest task to the most complex ones with ease – but what if they just keep on doing the same tasks over and over again? Yes, they will get bored eventually and soon will leave for better opportunities.

So, how do you stop this from happening? As a manager, you should understand that performer employees are driven by motivation especially in solving problems or challenges. Without challenges, they will easily get disengaged and will soon plan to leave your company.

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As a leader, you can challenge them by giving them useful and detailed feedback on how to improve their performance or share your goals with them and help them set their own – whether a short-term or long-term goal.

You can also give them a variety of tasks and let them find their rhythm on how to do the tasks on their own and after, you can sit them down to discuss their performance. There are more innovative ways to give them a challenge that they would surely love, but the thing is the challenges you’ll provide must make them feel like they have achieved something or conquered something.


“What we really want to do is what we are really meant to do. When we do what we are meant to do, money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels like play to us.” – Julia Cameron

Again, a self-explanatory reason for a star employee to stay in your company. As the world revolves, many employees now stand their ground when it comes to compensation because they know the level of their performance and the productivity they can contribute to the company.

An example would be how an employee – a millennial – knows how much he/she is worth due to his/her experience and knowledge in the position plus their skills to adapt quickly in the digital world which gives them an edge.

However, when we talk about compensation, it’s not all monetary – it also includes the benefit packages your company offers your employees. As an HR professional, you have to make sure that your star employees are well-compensated given the achievements they have attained in the company.

Star employees: What makes them stay? - Conclusion

To put it in a nutshell, your star employees deserve more than just a fair salary and they know it. In order for them to stay they should have more than one reason and these reasons require a workplace they are comfortable with – and you have a big role to play in that area.

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As a manager, you can help your star employees find their purpose in the workplace – give the job a meaning! The workplace should also be a safe place where workmates are free to speak their mind with little to no arising conflicts – they have formed a bond with each other and are comfortable with one another.

As a leader of a team, your star employee should see you as a trusted mentor – someone who can help him/her conquer the challenges in the workplace as well as give them some challenges. Ideally you are someone they look up to and your feedback should matter to them.

A workplace with a healthy working environment is what star employees crave and once they feel like your company has that – it is irresistible to them and you won’t have to worry about your employees leaving their posts.

Just keep in mind that all employees deserve a healthy working environment and more employees will achieve higher productivity levels if they are working in a safe and comfortable environment.

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