Motivating and retaining employees is no easy feat, especially in today’s competitive labor market: If employees don’t like working for your company, they’ll simply quit and go somewhere else. That’s why it is so important to build your company culture around employee retention and happiness; it can’t just be an afterthought. If you’re not sure how to get started, we’ve rounded up eight tips for keeping and motivating employees, from work anniversary gifts to flexible schedules.
1.Offer a competitive salary.
There’s simply no replacement for offering a competitive base salary. No amount of free coffee or cool gifts or any other perk can replace putting cold, hard cash in your employee’s pocket. Your salary range should be at least on par with whatever is average for your industry and geographic area and, ideally, a bit higher in order to make your company more appealing to candidates. Make sure that you also give annual cost-of-living increases to keep up with inflation and reward employees’ good performance with more substantial salary raises.
2.Don’t forget the rest of the benefits package.
Salary is an important part of the overall compensation package, but it’s only one component among many. You also need to think about what else your company offers, including various kinds of insurance, paid time off (PTO), stock options, and more. Look at what other companies in your industry provide to get an idea of what additional things you can include in your benefits package. Like the salary, your benefits package needs to be equivalent to what your competitors are offering, and ideally better.
3.Offer a flexible schedule.
One thing that a lot of employees appreciate is flexibility in their work schedule and environment. This flexibility can vary a lot based on what each individual employee needs. For example, one person might want to work from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. so they can be available to take their kid to and from school. Another might want the option to work remote a couple days a week to skip a lengthy commute into the office. And everyone occasionally needs to take care of things during business hours, such as going to the doctor. Offering a flexible schedule and work from home kits so employees can take care of these obligations without using up their PTO will go a long way toward retaining them.
4.Invest in their professional development.
Professional development can be time-consuming and expensive: Conferences, webinars, and training programs don’t always come cheap. If you give each employee a professional development budget, that will show that you are serious about helping them to grow both as an employee of your company specifically and as a professional in general. Some employees, especially young ones very early in their career, may not know what professional development looks like, so their manager may need to provide recommendations for conferences and other avenues they can seek out.
5.Provide a clear path to advancement.
Speaking of raises and professional development, the path to getting a salary and title bump should be clearly communicated to employees at every level of the organization. Don’t obscure the steps they need to take or leave it up to employees to “make their own path.” If your company doesn’t already have clear expectations about what steps it takes to get a promotion, then work with HR to lay out a plan that employees can follow. You don’t want employees to get frustrated and quit because they can’t figure out what they need to do to advance.
6.Set reasonable goals.
Overworking your employees is a surefire recipe for burnout and eventual turnover. That’s why it’s so important to set reasonable goals for your projects and to build in buffer time for eventual mistakes and accidents. Occasionally you all might need to push to meet a deadline, but try not to make this a regular habit. It may seem tempting to push salaried employees for additional work, since they’re not paid by the hour, but you’ll pay for this on the backend when they quit and you have to recruit a replacement.
7.Celebrate employee achievements.
Employees put in a lot of hard work, and they deserve to be acknowledged! This acknowledgement can take many different forms, including employee appreciation gifts, catered lunches, extra time off on their birthday, and more. Brainstorm a list of things you can celebrate that fit with your company culture. Employee anniversaries and big project deadlines are two obvious ones, but there are many possibilities worth celebrating. Make sure that you also choose to celebrate individual employees in ways they will appreciate: An employee who is a minimalist might not want to be given extraneous swag, while a shy employee might not want to be called up on stage at the company-wide meeting for a round of applause.
8.Learn how to manage effectively.
Having an ineffective direct supervisor is another main reason why employees quit. Both micromanaging employees and taking a completely hands-off approach are recipes for disaster. A middle-of-the-road approach is better: giving employees the direction they need to succeed, but not nitpicking over their every move. If you are a direct supervisor, then tweaking your management style to increase employee happiness is an excellent personal goal. If you are higher up in the leadership chain, and this seems to be an overarching problem at your company, then you might need to devise a supervisor training program to help the managers improve overall.
Employee retention takes work, but it’s so worth the investment instead of hiring people constantly. Follow these tips to help motivate and keep your existing employees and make your company a better place to work.