What Is The One Surprising Secret Of Retaining Great Employees?

LaRae Quy
7 min readMar 6, 2023

I graduated from college with a Bachelor’s degree in Business and took a job as a management trainee at a fancy department store. It wasn’t long before I was offered a position as a department manager and I eagerly accepted the promotion even though I sensed early on that retail was not a career I wanted to pursue long-term.

Why did I accept the position if I knew I didn’t plan to stay? The answer is simple: it gave me the experience of managing people and large inventories, which I knew would look good on my resume when I packed my desk and moved on.

I suspect that I’m like many people who use their first and second job as a stepping stone to something bigger; and, hopefully, better. The department store put a lot of money into how it trained and groomed me for the professional world, but I left it behind as soon as I found something better.

My discontent with the world of retail was hard to articulate, but I knew deep down that something integral and essential was missing for me. I discovered the missing piece when I became an FBI agent because it was a job that provided me with the meaning and fulfillment that had been missing in my first job.

There are hundreds of articles on why people leave their jobs, followed by a tidal wave of ways leaders can change their culture and retain their top talent. I’m sure I’ll touch on a few of them here as well, but anemic tips on how to be a better leader miss the point; it will take more than warm fuzzies at the office to persuade high-performing employees to stay the course.

Research indicates that the one surprising secret of retaining top talent is helping them set goals that align with their values. All the hard work that leadership puts into creating a perfect work culture is worth nothing if it doesn’t address the real heart of why people pick up and move — their deeper needs are simply not met in their current circumstances.

Let’s take a closer look:

1. Set The Right Goals

Goals can be a great source of satisfaction and provide direction for our life. Studies show that there is a definite link between the pursuit of successful goals and our well-being. Interestingly, the…

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LaRae Quy

Former counterintelligence FBI agent | Mental Toughness Center | Consultant | Speaker | Author: Secrets of A Strong Mind, & Mental Toughness for Women Leaders