How to Retain Top Performers

This week we hosted a breakfast roundtable with MoveMeOn. Attendees from SuperAwesome, Salesforce, HelloFresh, BIMA, Quiqup, Seedrs and Yoyo Wallet shared their thoughts on retaining their best people. // THE BUSINESS CASE FOR INVESTING IN YOUR BEST Investing into retaining your best employees is a smart business decision:


Research shows that there are 3 pillars to motivating your top talent:

  • Recognition and reward

  • Autonomy and freedom

  • Learning and progression


  • Netflix offers unlimited vacation, a one-line expense policy and transparency around paying best in class salaries. All this empowers their employees to act in the best interests of the company without too much bureaucracy

  • Supercell allows employees to work on whichever games they preferred - resulting in both games that did amazingly well, but also some failures

  • Pixar ensures there are communal spaces for people to meet spontaneously and Pixar University provides chances for employees to try new things (and fail in a safe environment


  • Assign all employees in a Nine-Box Grid that ranks them high / medium / low on both Performance and Potential. As well as identifying the future leaders of your organisation to invest in (High Potential-High Performance), it also identifies employees that are functional experts, and need recognition even if they are not being promoted (Low Potential-High Performance). Low Potential-Low Performance employees should be managed out as soon as possible. Consider being transparent to each employee about where they sit in the grid and how they can move around it, though be prepared that this can take time and effort.

  • If you can afford great maternity and paternity benefits then communicate these both internally and externally, to make sure that people appreciate them.

  • Dedicate and protect innovation time such as hackathons. These can vary from Hack Days in house, to week long Swarm Weeks, where developers to co-work in an out-of-office location and use that time on innovation only rather than bug fixing.

  • Make sure you process for determining salary is fair and transparent. People are at risk of leaving even if they are well paid when they perceive the system is unfair.

  • Adopt a holistic approach to development by investing in well-being (physical and mental) for employees

  • Assign executive mentors to your superstars. Support mentors and mentees with training for both parties to get the most out of the mentorship

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