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3 ways to ensure your best employees won’t quit

July 14, 2015, 2:30 PM UTC

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “How do you keep your best employees?” is by Chris Martin, chief technology officer at Pandora.

It’s been my experience that employees want to work in an environment where they feel both empowered and challenged. A place where they can make mistakes and learn from them, not be reprimanded. But more than anything, employees want a workplace that they enjoy coming back to every day.

I’ve been at Pandora for over 10 years and I love what I do, but equally important, I adore the people I work with. They are my motivation every day and the main reason Pandora has been successful as a company. As a leader, I believe it’s my role to maintain the principles by which we work, but also set a tone for how we treat each other. Here are three things I keep in mind when working toward employee retention:

Be fair
I try to do this in a variety of ways, such as compensation and performance management. I also make an effort to treat all employee requests with the same importance, regardless of their title/position.

Be selfless
It’s important that we make our individual contributors the stars of what we do, because everything we do (and have done) hinges on their ability to be successful. Organizations are built around the successes of teams and the individuals who make up those teams. Giving credit when due fosters motivation, develops confidence and inspires healthy competition.

Be respectful
Treating employees with respect requires you, as the leader, to listen, engage and solicit feedback when necessary. This encourages a notion that has been instrumental in our success: encouraging and supporting each other.

Every leader should define their own core characteristics for their team and key aspects they value. More importantly, they need to exemplify these every day. I know I haven’t always been a perfect leader, but I can say that being clear and consistent with the above three principles has been fundamental to the success of our teams over the long haul.

Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: How do you keep your best employees?

How naysayers could boost your business by Peter Vanderheyden, president of Article One Partners.

What every employee can teach their boss by Carmencita Bua, COO of Continuum.

The secret to keeping your best employees by John Ambrose, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development at Skillsoft.

5 things ‘Office Space’ can teach you about employee retention by Steve Sims, chief digital officer at Badgeville.

Free food is a poor excuse for company culture by Ryan Smith, CEO and founder of Qualtrics.

What Steve Jobs taught executives about hiring by Shahrzad Rafati, founder and CEO of BroadbandTV.

How this ex-Apple executive keeps his employees happy by Bob Borchers, senior vice president and CMO at Dolby Laboratories.

9 ways to recruit extraordinary employees by Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow Group.

Why this CEO encourages failure in the workplace by Amy Errett, CEO and co-founder of Madison Reed.

Sarah Kauss: Why a pay bump isn’t the answer to employee happiness by Sarah Kauss, CEO and founder of S’well.

The one perk that will guarantee employee happiness by Ryan Harwood, CEO of PureWow.

The secret to holding on to your best employees by Amit Srivastav, president of Infinite.

3 ways to prevent your employees from quitting by Niraj Shah, CEO of Wayfair.