HR News | Reward Systems Strategy: Employee Retention

Published: December 11, 2012 Author: Clearpoint Tags: Manager's Corner, Working and Workplaces

With the stiff competition in today's job market, finding great employees might seem fairly easy--but keeping your top talent can be a true challenge.

Today's employees are far more empowered. If they're unhappy with their working conditions, they simply look for another job--and this is especially true for top talent, when they know your competition will be happy to hire them. To keep your best employees, you need a retention program that offers strong incentives.

Here are a few tips on improving employee retention throughout your organization.

Retention begins with recruitment

The goal of employee retention is to create long-term employment. For this reason, many companies save their retention efforts for staff members that have already put in the time and "proven" that they're in it for the long haul. Meanwhile, junior employees tend to run out of patience when they're not rewarded, and start seeking greener pastures.

The best retention programs start as early as the interview process, when prospective candidates should be asked about their long-term goals and how the position fits in with those goals. For new hires, highlight the benefits of long-term employment with the company from day one. Offering a short-term bonus program based on performance--with review intervals at three months, six months, one year, and bi-annually thereafter--delivers a strong incentive for employees to stay.

Money (while great) isn't everything

The most widely used motivator for employee retention is cold, hard cash, with 40 percent of organizations using pay to reward performance and continued employment. While money is great, and your employees will always appreciate bonuses, there are other incentives that can be just as effective.

The easiest way to determine the best incentives--and one that most employers overlook--is to ask your employees how they want to be rewarded. While "more money" is the expected response, you may be surprised to learn that your staff members want perks like extra days off, flexible working hours, or casual dress days.

Another non-monetary reward that many employees enjoy is personal time on the job. This doesn't mean a few hours surfing Facebook or playing Angry Birds. Rather, they're interested in self-improvement through research and the exploration of professional interests--which can only improve performance.

Getting invested

We take care of the things we own, and this principle holds true for careers. One of the most effective employee retention strategies is shared ownership. Stock shares and profit-sharing bonuses allow employees to become invested in the performance of the business--and they'll stick around to make sure their investment grows.

Profit-sharing programs can also be periodically vested, so that the percentages go up after five years, ten years, or more. This strategy can further boost retention, and even get employees excited about reaching the longevity markers.

Take a good look at your employee retention program, and make sure you have strategies in place to recruit and retain top talent. After all, your employees are the best investment you can make for your business.

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