29 CREATIVE WAYS TO RETAIN EMPLOYEES

I would not be wrong to say that you were once an employee, right?

The percentage of people who became an employer without first working for someone is very small. According to the check people, that figure lies around 1% or less.

So, let’s take a brief journey down memory lane by revisiting the time you were an employee.

  • What were the things your employer did that made you happy?
  • Were there things your employer did that made you feel less appreciated?
  • What were the things your employer did that motivated you to want to do more for the organization?
  • Finally, what were the things he/she did that made you make up your mind about quitting your job?

I’d love you to get a notepad and a pen and give answers to these questions honestly. Now, take a good look at what you’ve written down. Sincerely evaluate yourself, are you better than your former employers?

Regardless of what your answer is, you can be better than you presently are. When starting and running a business, it’s essential to consider the details.

You’ve got your business plan, you’ve got your social media contents ready to engage, and you’ve got your new office space for you to take the world by storm.

But these details are only half of it. And as much as you want to present yourself to the world, you’ve also got to present yourself to retain employees, both current and future. 

Company culture is a massive part of what makes a business successful. Your company culture should be something that makes people enjoy working there and want to stay.

However, this isn’t as putting a ping-pong table in the break room. There need to be incentives that set you apart from others. Here are some creative ways of being a better employer, hence, earn the devotion of your employee

1. Recognize your employee’s effort

In line with the aforementioned point, it is a wise thing to make your employee know that you see and appreciate what they do.

It does not only make them feel important but also encourages them to do better. They wouldn’t want to trade such feeling for anything.

I am not ignorant of the fact that you are very busy, however, little sacrifices like this are worth the time.

You would not want to use that time searching and recruiting every now and then, right?

2. Flexible Hours

The traditional working week is fading. People no longer want to work 9 to 5 but instead, take advantage of not needing to be in the office all the time.

You can offer the option to work from home and take advantage of Skype, Slack, and similar platforms to get in touch when needed. 

There is also the option of flexitime, which still makes sure everyone gets their hours in without demanding they all come in at the same time.

This gives people the chance to go to the gym, take their kids to school, and make appointments without dealing with rush hour traffic. 

3. Commend them regularly

Do not limit your commendation to the big times and things. Show appreciation for the little things too. Let them know that you appreciate their baby steps as much as you do their giant strides.

I can guarantee you the comforting and assuring feeling you give them when you show appreciation or say, “thank you”.

How will you feel if you get to know that your employees are always eager to leave home for work? You would feel great and fulfilled, right? Then, make commending them a routine.

4. Food and Drink

Having free tea, coffee or healthy lunches available is one superb program of keeping everyone happy while they’re at work.

The promise of breakfast on arrival ensures everyone can get there on time. They know they don’t need to rush or completely skip breakfast.

This also ensures they are productive as soon as they walk through the door. 

5. Be polite with your request

Yeah! I know you are the boss. Your authority ought to be felt and you may not see the need to say, “please” to everybody.

However, you will only end up appearing cranky to your employees and be subjected to false respect. It will help a whole lot to see your role as an employer as a privilege. This way, being polite will not be a huge task.

I know someone whose boss always use the word, “Kindly do this or that”, whenever he needs her to do something and always ends it with, “thank you.”

Trust me, those simple words were the basis of her good impression about the organization.

6. Let your employee know that you respect them

The funny but subtle thing about respect is that it is not only noticed in your words, but from the look in your eyes and body language. One major way to retain your employee is by consciously making them know that you truly respect them – not pretence.

Being a leader can be stressful and tasking, which may lead to you being impatient, irritated, and rude. However, it is very important to be in control of your emotions.

You must be deliberate about your reactions when having a conversation with your employee, especially on a one-on-one basis.

Always wear a friendly smile no matter how hard it may seem. Converse with a firm but friendly tone; Ensure that your body language is in tune with your smile and tone.

7. Correct with consideration

This can be a very tough one for you as an employer because mistakes can be costly. Nevertheless, always bear in mind that no one is above errors.

I’ll personally advise that you take adequate time before giving corrections especially when the error is costly. This will enable you to process your words well and you wouldn’t end up raising your voice at your employee.

You might think that if you do not show your hurt and anger as regards an error, it will encourage the offender to do more. That’s not true!

When a person, in this case, an employee gets the opposite of what they expected – patience instead of an outburst; love instead of hate, they will go ahead to ensure such error never repeats itself again.

If it does happen, they will be willing to bear the cost without any resentment. This rare attribute will make your employee feel like a family and they will be reluctant to leave you.

8. Sincerely encourage self-development

The ultimate focus of most employers is the progress of the business while nothing else matters. As good as this sounds, it is very detrimental when you make it obvious to your employees that you are only concerned about how well they make your business progress and don’t care about them.

I promise you that they will leave at the slightest chance they get. No one wants to feel unappreciated or used. Not even you! So, you must show your employees that you care by giving them a chance to develop themselves and encourage them at it.

Try your best to be sincere with this. They will forever be grateful for it and many will not see a need to leave an organization that has their best interest at heart.

9. Be flexible with their requests

I totally understand the importance of being firm as a leader to avoid being taken for granted. However, more important than firmness is empathy.

Do not be the employer that finds it resentful to grant his employee some days off to take care of an ailing child or relative. Be very considerate and flexible. Your kindness will not be forgotten.

You may be thinking that your flexibility will give room for flimsy excuses but I can assure you that it is when you’re too rigid that they will find any excuse to release themselves from your grip.

10. Make them feel valuable

You will always want to be with that person that makes you feel valued, right?

The same is applicable to employees – there is a very high likelihood for employees to remain loyal to an organization that makes them feel valued. You need to be able to be positive about your employees.

Asides from their faithfulness with your organization, they will also want to do more by offering their best.

11. Have a relationship with each one of them

This is a really tough one, especially for a big organization. It can be much easier for small and medium-sized organizations. So, for a big organization with about 50- 500 people or more, you don’t have to chat with everyone on a daily basis. It can be something as simple as saying “hello, how are you” to the janitor when you stumble on each other and go a little further by asking for their name.

They will be grateful you did and will take it as something significant. It is also very important to try to keep a tab on names. An employer calling the least important person by his/her name in a big organization is a thrill for such individual. Having a relationship, no matter how little, with your employee helps you gain their loyalty.

12. Make enough room for relaxation

Do not let your organization be about work! work!!  and more work!!! I do not resent the importance of hard work but let there be room for relaxation asides the scheduled break.

Taking a day off once in a while to relax, chat, watch movies and play games in the office won’t kill anyone. It will only help strengthen relationships and increase the productivity of employees.

13. Be generous with compensation

It is not just enough to give verbal commendation. You can go a little further by giving gifts and tokens. No matter how little, it sure would be appreciated.

In addition, the compensation is not only limited to individuals, you can decide to treat everyone lunch, or organize a small party. It could even be a branded shirt for everyone or something as little as a pen. It is not about the cost of the gift but the heart behind it.

However, if your organization can afford to do big things such as health benefits, retirement plans etc. Don’t hold back.

14. Consider revenue sharing

This is one of the most strategic ways of retaining employees in an organization. Revenue sharing is a process whereby the employee benefits from the development of the organization, that is, they earn more than their usual salary when the organization makes more profit.

One major thing this will achieve is that, your employee will not feel like a subordinate but as a co-investor and they will be willing to give their best to your organization because they know they will profit from it. Moreover, the thought of leaving your organization will not even cross their mind.

Read: Tips for getting started when switching industries

15. Be a good listener

Employees tend to be more open and motivated when they know you have a listening ear. This will make the work easier for everyone in the organization because they will be free to air their opinion and they trust you to make the right judgement.

This will give everyone a sense of belonging in your organization.

16. Make the work environment comfortable

Strive to make the work environment as comfortable as possible for your workers. Provide necessary facilities and equipment that will make them feel comfy and make work easy.

You cannot expect people to stay back in an organization where the environment is always making them uneasy and sick. Therefore, do your best to give and maintain a work-friendly environment for your workers.

Read 15 work values and ethics that encourage growth

17. Always seek their opinion

Most jobs may require a routine schedule which may not be healthy enough for the employee and the business. Trust me, doing the same set of things every day can be boring and draining which will make an employee be on the lookout for other options.

However, if you are careful enough to seek their opinion about their work and adjustments they will love,  they will want to spend a lifetime with you.

18. Respect their privacy

Don’t ever fall into the temptation of calling your employees about work after work hours. Except for rare situations where their urgent attention is required. If not, a text will do just fine.

You can then include in your text that they should give a call when available. This shows that you respect them a lot. Do not be the employer that feels he can get people to do his bidding regardless of the time.

Remember that people also have their personal lives and issues to deal with asides working for you. So give them that space and they will appreciate you for it.

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19. Give encouragement

Asides encouraging your team in the area of self-development, it is also crucial you give time to time encouragements on their individual work.

As earlier mentioned, doing the same set of things over and over can be boring and tiring. Your recognition of this fact and giving your team encouragement might be the spark they need to not give up working for you.

20. Give allowances for an offence

To err is human, to forgive is divine. Humans and imperfections are quite synonymous. You cannot escape your employee annoying you.

However, you can determine your reactions to their offences by choosing to let go and dealing with each issue maturely. It won’t always be easy but I believe you will be able to pull through each time. If you can’t deal with such anymore, it’s better to discuss the way forward with them. They may not even know they are doing something wrong.

21. Be honest with them

It is easy to blame other people for what’s not working. Many employers find faults with their employees even if they are the one using the wrong approach.

Try your best not to shift blames. No matter how tempted you are to do that. Be honest about everything and also welcome their suggestions.

Read 10 human rights and ethics in the workplace

22. Let meetings be conversational

Give room for your employees to air their opinion during meetings. Do not be the head and tail of the conversation.

Let them know that their contributions are very important in the development of the organization.

23. Give them a sense of responsibility

Feel free to assign other tasks to your team members asides their normal work schedule.

It makes them feel trusted, capable and responsible. However, be careful not to choke them with too much work.

24. A performance review is important

This could be quarterly or annual but ensure it is done. It doesn’t matter if there is a daily or weekly checkup on their performance, do not overlook the importance of celebrating the ‘A’ staffs who have been consistent with good results over the course of the year and encourage those who aren’t performing.

This could be an interesting event that your staff will always look forward to.

This also helps you to discuss the short- and long-term goals of your organization with your staff and how they can be achieved.

25. Take time to know the individual’s strengths and weaknesses

Knowing your staff’s behavioural and skill-wise strengths and weaknesses will not only be beneficial for your employee but also for you. Be careful enough to know where each member of your organization works well and what they struggle with.

Assign them tasks that enable them to maximize their strengths and also encourage them to improve their weaknesses. This is an act of genuine interest in people. Everyone wants someone who is genuinely interested in them. Innit?

26. Organize pieces of training

It is not enough to encourage your staff to get trained. You can also organize for them to get trained by professionals in the organization.

It paints them the picture that you are ready to take responsibility for their development.

27. Be witty about balance

The Holy Book advises you to be shrewd as a serpent and be gentle as a dove. Humans can be very complicated to deal with. Therefore, great wisdom is needed to balance discipline and empathy so as not to be taken for granted.

Let there be a balance in everything you do and try your best to be consistent. That way, your personality won’t confuse your staff. They will have good knowledge about what you’d permit and what you wouldn’t.

28. Introduce Fitness and Health

Fitness directly correlates to mental health, and endorphins released following a workout helps your employees deal with stress and other symptoms of burnout. 

You can focus on your employee health by offering free or discounted gym memberships. This is useful as it gives people an incentive to work. If your company is large enough, an on-site gym is ideal.

Offering health plans also gives your employees the security they need should they have medical problems.

You can also look into services such as Medtronic, which provide treatments that are less invasive than others, meaning recovery time is slashed and prevents too much discomfort for your employees, allowing them to get back to work sooner. 

29. Be a bit social

You can have informal situations like going out for company nights out. You should treat them to fun activities as a reward for excellent work. If your employees see an incentive on the horizon, it could give them that extra push to succeed for you. 

Besides, no matter how busy your schedules are, try to squeeze into your employee’s celebrations. They would be grateful if you showed up for their weddings, birthdays or child dedication. Knowing fully well what sacrifice you made for them, it won’t be easy to leave the organization that made them feel special.

Giving your employees the chance to let loose and engage with each other out of the professional environment is excellent for team building and company morale.

It allows people to chat with others they might hardly see. They can get to know each other out of their respective departments. 

Conclusion

Of course, you may not be able to offer all of these perks, especially not at first. However, always put yourself in the shoes of your employees. Do to them what you will want a superior do to you.

Providing the benefits you can for your employees will make the company a more attractive place to work. As long as they don’t abuse such benefits, you’ll be able to retain employees and have a successful company.

I hope you enjoyed reading this piece. Your comments and contributions are very welcome.

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Post Author: Opeyemi Sowade

Sowade Opeyemi is a systematic, cooperative and collaborative thinker, oriented to follow procedures. He is patient and listens to others carefully, genuinely interested in their ideas, opinions and information.

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