NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- With a rebounding economy and a growing demand for skilled executives as baby boomers retire, talented employees are increasingly seeking -- and finding -- new opportunities. Unfortunately, they often leave their current employer in the lurch, and most small businesses just can't afford to lose top talent. We checked in with experts who weigh in on the top seven ways companies can retain their best workers -- even when other offers come knocking. 1. Offer a strong company culture "It's getting more challenging to retain people," says Janet Flewelling, managing director of HR service operations at human resources company Insperity. "People who were holding onto their jobs are finding maybe this is a good time to start looking elsewhere, and that's why it's important to make sure they feel connected to their company." Insperity offers a volunteer program to its employees for just that reason -- each quarter workers can perform 12 hours of volunteer work that is paid time off, which Flewelling says "reinforces the value" of the company. "Anytime a company offers opportunities to contribute to the community where you live and where you work, it's a good thing," she says. "It's also a wonderful chance for employees to work together, which creates a culture of togetherness." 2. Make work fun "The lines between your work and home life are a lot more blurry than they used to be," Flewelling says. "When you think about employee retention, it's all wrapped up with having friends at work, feeling comfortable at work and really enjoying it when you can." One of the things Flewelling says "always surprises" her about workplace culture is how popular a "wear-your-jeans-to-work" day is to making a workplace fun. "People love the ability to wear jeans," she says. "For many small businesses, it may be a relaxed environment already, but for those with more traditional attire, this is a great way to help keep employees at ease." Other ways to keep the good times flowing include a "team spirit day" where employees wear their favorite team colors or jerseys, and potluck lunches or breakfasts where employees bring the dish of their choosing to share with others.
3. Create a connection with employees; make them feel valued and appreciated "When the economy is weak, people don't leave a job as long as they paychecks are coming through. But when things improve, it's incumbent upon employers to make them feel like a part of the mission and the culture," says Bob Gershberg, CEO of Wray Executive Search, an executive search firm specializing in senior-level executives.
It's important to communicate "early and often," Giugliano says, adding that one conversation is never enough; employee retention is an ongoing endeavor. "Schedule routine sessions for feedback and fine-tuning the retention strategies," he says. 6. Develop and implement a strategy Unfortunately, one size will not fit all in successful retention programs, Giugliano says. Once you've heard what your employees need from you, work to accommodate those requests. FB) and texting," Augustine says. "They're accustomed to continuous coaching and feedback from their extensive social networks, and will expect a similar cadence of communication in the workplace." Employers may want to consider weekly check-ins or other more frequent informal meetings, rather than relying on annual reviews to manage these employees, Augustine explains. Meanwhile, older employees -- Generation Yers -- will likely crave more personal enrichment. "While Gen X and boomers consider their managers to be experts, Gen Yers regard their managers as coaches and mentors. To retain these employees who crave personal enrichment, consider providing continued learning opportunities," she says. "While your budget might not be able to accommodate large expenses such as tuition reimbursement, that doesn't mean you can't provide other opportunities in the form of mentorships."