Retaining Good Staff

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Is it all about the money or are there other options for retaining good staff?

In this current season of very low unemployment in NZ, the job market has become more enticing for our employees. Salaries may be reviewed at best every 12 months, and even then, we can often only give a modest increase. So, what else can we do to encourage our staff to stay? Here are some ideas you might consider.

What keeps staff engaged?

As we said in our blog on avoiding the pain of unwanted resignations, it’s the other ‘non-negotiable’ tangibles within a business that keep an employee engaged. These include your culture, direction, overall philosophy of your business, and any incentives the business can provide along the way to reward employees.

“Staff rewards have the best impact if they are tailored to what motivates an individual,” Ellen Hooper, executive coach and people and culture consultant, told HRD in this article. “The best way to work that out is for people leaders to have discussions with their people about the parts of their working life that mean the most to them and what they would like to change to get more out of their work and their workplace and then match rewards to meet each individual’s needs.”

Alternative compensation

There are many ways employees can be compensated for their work apart from salary or wages. These might include:

  • Trips away – do you have a bach you can share?
  • Flexible work conditions – short Fridays? Late start Mondays?
  • Gifts or vouchers – dinner for two?
  • Coaching or mentoring – can you arrange some time with a leader or experienced person you know?
  • Additional leave.
  • Courses paid for or reimbursed – not even necessarily related to work, any hobby or personal interest you can support?

Get to know your people so you understand what really spins their wheels personally as well as in relation to their career. There are no guarantees this will keep your staff onboard. But while it is so difficult to find good replacement employees, doing all we can to retain good staff we have now makes good business sense.

Ensuring benefits help your business

Ellen Hooper reminds us to “put in place a proper budget so that ‘non-salary’ compensation is financially provided for.”

She explains “Gallup institute research shows that non-salary benefits can be very impactful on morale, but only if employees are paid fair, market-rate salaries. Non-salary benefits can have the opposite effect if people are being (or perceive that they are) underpaid.

Well executed non-salary benefits can improve retention. Benefits that drive autonomy such as flexibility and recognition can also create psychological safety and improve problem solving and innovation.

Try and rotate different benefits to avoid them becoming an expectation and losing their positive effect. Try and come up with new and engaging experiences or compensations throughout the year, so staff don’t see perks as ‘the norm’.

Rewarding employees can come in many forms. It just takes a combination of creative thinking and talking to your employees to find out what they want.

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