Almost 4 million workers in the US quit their jobs in April 2021. That’s just stunning.

And, as we know, it’s a mixture of many job openings, people changing their career paths, and dissatisfaction with current situations. Workers are really rethinking their options right now.

As an employer, I assume that you’d like to keep your best people around. But there’s a problem:

Your best folks are the ones MOST likely to leave, if only because they have more options. So this is an especially critical time to look at what you’re doing for them.

It’s not about coddling people with stock options and cushy chairs and the latest tools. That might be part of what you do, but it can’t be the primary thing.

Much more important is developing a relationship where they want to work for you because it’s interesting work, it’s important, and you appreciate what they do.

Many managers just jump to that last one: “Giving them stock options shows that I appreciate what they contribute.” That’s true, but it really says nothing about whether the work is interesting or important.

It’s important when customers or co-workers or partners are positively impacted by the work. In ways that this employee cares about.

And it’s interesting work when the employee is challenged to the degree that they can handle. Perhaps by tapping expertise in the rest of the team, or using their own skills, or by learning on the job through trial and error. Each person has their own interests.

So how do you know? Well, it’s quite simple. You have the conversation with each employee about what could make their work more interesting and important. Don’t immediately jump to “what would make you feel rewarded?” because we’d all like to get goodies and have fun.

But what lasts is that I know my work is important, interesting, and is appreciated.