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Need Some New Employee Retention Strategies ?

Updated on July 11, 2011

Innovative Employee Retention Strategies Set You Apart

Employee retention strategies are ways of keeping your employees (who are in the main your companies greatest assets) within your company. The challenge is to come up with employee retention ideas and strategies which set you apart from the competition.

A certain level of employee turnover is good for a company as in brings in new blood and fresh ideas which enable companies to evolve and grow. However it is also important to retain a core workforce to provide continuity and stability and it this core workforce that you need to focus your retention efforts on.

While it is true that no-one is indispensable every company has those people who personify the ethos and culture of the company, and who would be greatly missed if they left ~ and more often that not these employees are staff and not managers. It could be the cleaner who knows everyone by name, the retail assistant who can handle any customer, or the machinist who has forgotten more about the job than anyone else will ever know. These are the people you want to retain and the key to retaining them is to understand what makes them tick.

Understand What Motivates Your Employees

A good employment retention strategy starts with understanding employees. If the employee retention policies you have in place are not targeted correctly they will be of no use, for example if your workforce is primarily under 25, offering a six month paid sabbatical after 20 years service is going to mean nothing whereas getting shopping vouchers for six months of full attendance could be very powerful indeed.

The thing about your average workforce though, is that they are unlikely to be average. There will be a range of ages and of types of personalilty so any employee retention strategies you come up with have to either suit everyone, or you need a range of retention tools that can be mixed and matched as and when needed.

Money Is Not Necessarily a Good Employee Retention Strategy

Yes, there are some people for whom earning money is the reason they get up in the morning ~ and they are generally the ones who go off and start their own businesses.

For the majority of the rest of the population, money, while it is certainly an important factor in a job, is rarely the key motivator for the job i.e. if there are a range of issues with a job, an increase in pay may provide a short-term increase in performance but without addressing the underlying issues it will only be a short term increase.

Employee Retention Strategy Suggestions

Employee retention is about keeping employees within the business, which means your business has to be the one they want to work for, which means giving your employees a reason to stay.

The way to look at it is that if there were 2 identical jobs at 2 (on paper) identical companies with the same usual benefits in terms of healthcare, holidays, pensions etc, what can you offer to make people want to work for you, and stay with you once they are there.

Some Simple Ideas

Make sure the working environment is as good as it can be. Do you have somewhere your employees can get a hot drink, do you provide the tea and coffee free of charge. Do you have somewhere a room where employees can drink their coffee or eat their lunch. Is there a microwave so food brought in can be heated up. Do you have papers or magazines delivered for employees to read during their breaks. Is there enough crockery and cutlery in the canteen.

Other Employee Retention Ideas

Have services which come the office: Get businesses to come to you so your employees don't have to spend their lunch hours running errands. I've worked for companies who have had everything from car valeters to shoe repairers come to the office, collect and either do the work their or collect the items and return them a few days later. It's a small thing but can save you average employee a lot of time.

The other type of businesses that can be excellent to bring in are hollistic therapies i.e. have a relexologist once a month, or someone who specialises in neck and shoulder massages for office workers.

Make Your Employees Feel Valued:

Have a suggestion scheme, have regular team meetings, make sure any suggestions are listened to and the good ones are implemented. This engenders loyalty in a workforce and a loyal workforce is much more likely to stick around.

Give Them What They Want ... within reason ...

If you want your employees to stay with you then you could do a lot worse than ask them what they want ~ the answers may well surprise you as most people are not after the earth, just some practical help for example:

  • Flexible working options over school holidays
  • Better training opportunities
  • Recognition for a job well done
  • Loan schemes for travel to work costs in the early days of a job


The Bottom Line to Employee Retention

 The truth is that you could offer all of the above and more and still have a problem with employee retention because the main driver of whether employees like working for your company is driven from the top and manifests itself as company culture.

You can have all the benefits in the world but if the culture of the company doesn't make it comfortable for your employees to work there, they won't stick around for long. So before you invest time and money into a whole new raft of retention packages have a good long look in the company mirror and make sure the culture is there to support it, and if it isn't take a step back, work out what you want to change and set about some team building.


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