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“I quit!”

A year ago that phrase was heard seldom in the workplace, but times are changing. Industry experts say the economy is improving, and as a result more job opportunities are opening up for candidates.

According to, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported in October the number of employees voluntarily quitting their jobs had eclipsed the number terminated through layoffs and other types of discharges.

This is great news for job seekers, but should also serve as a wake-up call to employers.

The economic recession took a heavy toll, not just on those laid off, but also on the survivors who shouldered the burden of ‘doing more with less’. Many employees became disenchanted and may look to cut themselves loose from their jobs – especially in a better economy.

Replacing employees costs a lot of time, energy, and lost productivity so employers need to place a greater focus on retaining their quality employees.

Here are a few tips on how to do it.

Give Feedback
Meet with your team members regularly throughout the year, not just at appraisal time. Give them feedback – both positive and negative so they know how to move forward in their jobs. Review progress on their development plans and on their career planning. If there are stumbling blocks, try to help your employees any way you can.

Ask for Feedback
Just as you need to give feedback, you must ask for feedback from your direct reports on your managerial skills. You need to find out what your strengths and weaknesses are so you can improve as a manager. It’s no secret people quit jobs due to their boss. But if you don’t know what you are doing wrong, you can’t fix it. Gathering feedback can help you change course for the better.

Offer Perks
Your company may not be able to offer bigger salaries but there are small initiatives it can do to reward employees. Order in lunch once a month, offer a floating holiday, subsidized gym membership, etc. Sometimes it really is the little things that count.

Be Flexible
Let employees work from home once in a while. If a staffer works overtime, let them come in late the following day. These gestures can let workers know they are appreciated.

What are other key ways to retain valuable employees?

Sources: Forbes,