Appreciating and retaining employees.

20 12 2009

It’s the time of year for big year end bonuses and elaborate holiday parties. Though the reality is that several companies have been hard hit by the recession and are likely scaling back or not doing either. So what can a business owner or manager do to appreciate employees and improve retention, while keeping spending at a minimum?

  • Honesty: At the start, it’s important that you be honest with your employees. Rather than tip-toeing around the subject, being up front about the budgets your working with or other workplace demands is paramount. Honesty is always the best policy. And employees are more likely to support the company and its demands if they’re given direct information about new or shifted pressures that the company is working to overcome.
  • Recognition: High on the list of employee “wants” is recognition and appreciation for a job well done. Simply thanking employees can easily lead to employee engagement and retention. Respect cannot be overestimated when attracting and retaining quality employees.
  • Soliciting Input from Employees: While companies work with reduced budgets and tighter time lines, one way to engage employees is to ask them for their input and try to solve each issue as a team. Whether it is planning a holiday party on a restricted budget, or mapping out a course of action for a new project, employees appreciate the opportunity to think creatively and be involved in sourcing solutions.
  • Flexible Work Schedules: Given a solid understanding of the company’s expectations, many employees appreciate the ability to control their work schedules. One survey found that 38% of workers want flexible schedules as a benefit, while 32% preferred leaving work early on Fridays.
  • Volunteering: Rather than hosting a holiday party, planning a volunteering activity for the whole company or department may be an effective way to engage your employees. Volunteering also builds a sense of community – offering the ability to contribute to a great purpose and feel rewarded at the end.
  • Training and Education: One of the best ways to attract and retain quality employees is to invest in them, while maintaining and teaching your company’s core values. Providing employees with training and room to grow is an easy way to show appreciation for your employees while improving opportunities for business.

It’s easy to recognize that despite the necessity of showing appreciation to employees, providing them with training and room to grow, and being honest with them — money still talks. Once the economy recovers (which it will), employees are not likely to stay at a company that doesn’t value them. Establish a valued relationship with employees early, before it’s necessary or too late.

Hiring is just as much of a science as developing an employer culture that excites and engages employees. Showing an appreciation for your employees and offering growth oriented opportunities is an easy way to prevent the need to re-hire and the potential for reduced productivity throughout your company.

Because a cherished employee is a holiday gift indeed.

Photo courtesy of Houston Business Daily.

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