Employees’ Loyalty

Global Recruiter, Wednesday, 16th May 2012

Do you think your employees’ loyalty lies in the compensation package you offer? If so, you’re only about half right!  

Ronald Lee, Managing Director of PrimeStaff, discusses why the secret to employee retention is not just about the money.

Organisations are pumping more financial resources than ever before into designing sophisticated HR frameworks and the most attractive compensation and benefits plans. While this may certainly help to lure top talent into joining your organisation, it is not the be-all and end-all of the recruitment-retention game.

Many human resource (HR) managers still mistakenly believe that they need to offer the fattest pay packet and other perks in order to keep their people. But time and again, HR personnel conducting exit interviews hear the same old anecdotal evidence that it’s really not just about the money.

I’m sure you’ve heard the cliché that people join organisations but leave their managers. And it’s true – supervisors’ management style is a key factor in shaping the work environment and corporate culture. This, in turn, plays a pivotal role in determining the happiness index amongst your workforce. And obviously, a happy employee has much less of a push factor to pack his bags and leave.

More than anything, people want to feel that they matter and that their contributions count for something. The secret to employee retention is thus highly personal and often relationship-based. There really isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” approach as every individual differs in his or her psychological make-up and motivations. Here are five targeted, personalised strategies to keep your company’s best.

Make employees feel cared for

No one likes to feel unimportant, undervalued, or ignored be it in work, social or family context. We cannot stress what a long way the act of recognising, appreciating and rewarding your employees goes in the long run. Whether it’s through monthly one-on-one progress reports or an “Employee of the Month” program, a simple change in process can elevate workplace attitudes to a new level. Rewards don’t have to empty the company’s coffers either. Just get creative – besides monetary incentives, there are many low-cost ways to make employees feel appreciated. Give your star performer who brought in the highest sales for the month a gift card from his or her favourite coffee chain, bookstore or massage place. This requires you to find out about their personal likes and dislikes to tailor the reward according to their individual taste – and will make them feel all the more valued.

Offer a flexible work environment

Work-life balance is quite possibly one of the greatest challenges every employee faces in the competitive business environment of a thriving economy. Employers who display some degree of flexibility are thus a much-vaunted rarity. Remember also that overstressed employees are actually counterproductive to productivity. The opportunity to work remotely is growing in popularity so offer them flexible start/stop times or the option to work from home once a month for instance – being flexible works wonders in boosting employee morale, enhances employee satisfaction, and reduces the number of “sickies” staff are forced to take if they need to send their kid to the doctor urgently.

Provide opportunities for personal development

People, especially top performers, don’t want to stay stagnant either. They want to work for organisations that offer a nurturing environment – one where they can grow together with the company. So give them opportunities to learn and grow in their careers, and acquire additional knowledge and skills. Send them out for seminars and training sessions or even simply offer them the opportunity to sit on challenging committees or spearhead special projects that may be outside their immediate scope. Top this off by creating a career path for your employees so that they are clear about the destination they are working towards within the organisation. This serves to empower employees as well as show them that yours is an organisation that respects their talent and values promoting from within.

Hear them out

Another crucial factor in employee retention, people need to feel heard – and know that their opinions are valued. But sometimes, these voices get lost within big company bureaucracy. So create platforms that encourage employees to share their ideas and feedback, even if it’s just allowing them to let off steam about work processes. These can include online surveys, suggestions boxes or online forums. Better still if employees’ ideas are implemented; don’t just pay lip service – be sincere and take action on their feedback. This is also good for productivity as it creates a culture of continuous improvement. Who knows, that next million-dollar idea might just be incubating in your employee’s head right this moment!

Flatten the hierarchy

This is especially applicable in larger organisations as it is harder for senior management to be able to match every face with a name. They should thus take the time to meet with employees, especially with those lower down the ranks and new hires, to discover their professional strengths as well as their personal interests. Have your top management give all staff “face time” periodically as it is a critical tool that will help employees feel welcomed and engender a sense of belonging and loyalty – and it doesn’t cost you a cent!

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