Innovative Ways to Motivate and Retain Employees

By:  Carol Nibley
Smart employers are always looking for innovative ways to motivate and retain their employees. Even in down economies, employers realize their most talented folks have other options. Good economies only heighten the need to ensure a strong workplace culture. Last month we discussed the true costs of turnover and some strategies to prevent losing your best talent. This month I offer a few simple and not-too-costly suggestions for employers to consider:

  • Build on what is unique about your culture. Where can you dovetail to take advantage of your unique company offerings (e.g., product discounts, a shared language, etc.)?
  • Make sure managers frequently praise employees for successes.
  • Send thank you notes to employees (at their homes) for extra efforts or a job especially well done.
  • Have lunch with small groups of employees and get to know them and their concerns. Ask for   suggestions (only if you’re really willing to listen) and answer questions.
  • Consider providing fresh fruit and other snacks in a stocked pantry for employees.
  • Calendar a monthly breakfast or lunch for employees.
  • Celebrate successes, birthdays, milestones, and other special events.
  • Encourage wellness. Have walking meetings, subsidize gym memberships, offer yoga lessons, form a company sports team, etc.
  • Where possible, offer flextime, telecommuting, and other options to facilitate a work/life balance.
  • Bring in a massage therapist periodically to offer chair massages.
  • Instead of offering employees simply a cash bonus, consider paying for housecleaning, yard maintenance service, dry cleaning, car detailing, or other time-saving and much-appreciated services for your top performers.

These are just a few of hundreds of ideas you can consider to keep your employees from looking elsewhere. For more ideas, I recommend the following books:

1001 Ways to Energize Employeesby Bob Nelson
Love ‘em or Lose ‘em: Getting Good People to Stayby Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans
301 Ways to Have Fun at Workby Dave Hemsath and Leslie Yerkes
Get Weird! 101 Innovative Ways to Make Your Company a Great Place to Workby John Putzier
22 Keys to Creating a Meaningful Workplaceby Tom Terez
Practice What You Preach by David H. Maister

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