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While products, markets, and strategy are all crucially important to the success of a business, perhaps the most important asset is top performing staff. Without highly competent people and a great team, the best products and most well-thought-through strategies can fail.

Given the importance of talented personnel, it can be disheartening to realize that approximately 40% of employees expect to be looking for employment other than what they currently have in 2017. Fifteen percent are already looking, and 26% expect to be looking when the new year rolls around.

What Do Employees Want to See in Management?

Unfortunately, poor management is one of the key reasons cited by restless employees. Are managers seen as honest and trustworthy? Employees who feel their managers are honest are 10 times more likely to be satisfied with their positions than employees who do not.

On the other hand, employees who do not feel their employers are honest and trustworthy are four times more likely to be looking for other employment.

These findings, which arise from a survey of 3,300 workers in the U.S. and internationally, were conducted by Dale Carnegie Training and recently published in Fast Company.

Other findings from the survey? Business leadership that recognizes and appreciates employee contributions are key.

Employees appreciate being given chances to improve and praise for a job well done. Seventy-two percent say that that recognizing improvement is one of the most important qualities a manager can have. Even more, 74%, say that praising and appreciating the work done is the mark of a great boss.

The highest percentage, 80%, say that encouragement to improve is a mark of an inspiring leader.

Set Up a Career Path for Top Performers

While appreciation and encouragement are important to all employees, they are likely to be even more important to top performers. After all, employees who have been assessed to be better than most likely have more options if they want to join the 41% of employees looking around.

Make keeping top performers a part of your business strategy.

The best way to do this is to clearly map out a career path and put them on it! Top performers should know that they are in line for plum assignments and high visibility with upper management and the board.

When you have significant assignments, place your top performers in key roles. If you have a start-up division or need new ideas for reaching the core customer base, put top performers on it.

In addition, place them on teams of other top performers. That way, they can bring out the best in each other.

Mentorship is also a crucial part of keeping top performers. On the way to challenging assignments, it's good to have wise counsel by someone who has been there. Don't rely on them to simply find a mentor: that's easier said than done in every organization. Mentorship should be a formal part of the company.

Praise, a career path, and recognition: ways to make sure employees will not be part of the wandering 41%!