As companies struggle out of the recession and begin to recover, employee retention—that is, keeping top talent on board—is becoming critically important. For one, turnover is tremendously expensive; some experts estimate the costs to be as much as two times an employee’s salary. But there are softer costs associated with turnover, including lowered productivity and decreased morale among remaining employees. So how can companies ensure they keep their employees? It starts with recruiting. "Retention starts from the application process to screening applicants to choosing who to interview. It starts with identifying what aspects of culture and strategy you want to emphasize, and then seeking those out in your candidates," said Dan Pickett, CEO of Nfrastructure, an infrastructure, managed services, and network services firm. Pickett’s company employs about 400 people and has a retention rate of 97 percent, a rate practically unheard of in any industry. "It's an increasing returns model; the longer someone's with your company, the more productive they become over time. You have to look at this as a long game, and take steps to ensure you're doing it right by making sure each employee is completely engaged with and part of the company's ongoing success," Pickett said.