Slowly, the economy is turning. Retail sales reported growth, the stock market is improving and businesses are starting to move forward.

Job growth and the housing market continue to lag behind, but economists are optimistic. The job market will rebound, and many of your employees will search for new jobs when it does. Turnover will rise.

Losing top talent is one of the most serious threats to your organization. According to Adecco’s Workplace Insights Survey, employers will see a high level of employee turnover when the job market rebounds. Many employees stayed in jobs in which they were dissatisfied.

According to another survey, by the Society of Human Resources and The Wall Street Journal’s CareerJournal.com, 53 percent of employees seek better benefits and compensation, 35 percent are dissatisfied with their jobs and 32 percent are ready for a change.

When employees leave, they take with them knowledge, talent and maybe even your customers. Retaining top talent needs to be one of your company’s priorities in 2011.

Taking the following actions will improve your ability to retain your top talent:

Ensure that the relationship between manager and employee is positive. We all know that people leave managers, not companies. There needs to be an environment of trust, respect and two-way honest communication.

Clarify expectations. Employees want to know what is expected of them and when tasks or projects need to be accomplished.

Create ownership. Involve your employees in decisions that affect their job. Give them the opportunity to make decisions and work independently.

Acknowledge accomplishments. Give praise and say “thank you” frequently. Showing appreciation goes a long way toward keeping an employee satisfied with the work environment.

Provide development opportunities. Let your top talent use their skills and knowledge on special projects or in temporary positions where they will interact with all levels in the organization, including senior-level executives.

Provide opportunities that engage them in all areas of the company so their understanding of the entire business is expanded.

Provide competitive compensation and benefits. Many employees have not been compensated adequately during the recession. With the market rebounding, employees may be seeking jobs with increased compensation and benefits.

These actions are basic and common sense but require focus when balancing the many challenges in your business. Retaining your top talent is not only a smart business goal — it is also a top priority.