Cost Effective Strategies for Retaining your Top Employees

Michael J. Pires
February 26, 2009 — 2,617 views  
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Even given today's economic uncertainty, creating a reward system that attracts and retains talented employees is important for the success of any organization. While you may not be able to afford to offer your employees regular pay increases, there are some other simple and cost effective ways to reward your workers.

To help keep your best workers around, consider implementing some of the initiatives found below:

1. Find out what your employees want. Pay isn't always most important. For many employees what is most important at work is the satisfaction that comes from a job well done, being recognized and appreciated for one's efforts, and having the flexibility to balance work with personal obligations. Get a feel for what your employees want before implementing a new reward system. All that may be necessary are some simple changes, such as putting more effort into recognizing your employees or providing your workers with the autonomy that they desire.

2. Extra time off. Providing extra time off is a simple way to offer a desired benefit without cutting into your bottom line. The extra time off is a win-win; it provides employees with an opportunity to catch up on personal business or just get some much needed R&R. And when your employees return, they'll come back with a renewed commitment to their work and a feeling of rejuvenation.

3. Bonuses for meeting targets. Offering employees a bonus for reaching certain sales targets is a simple motivator to ensure an employee's hard work is rewarded. With the revenue made from reaching company sales goals, you can afford to share the reward with the employees who made it happen - and who will likely make it happen again.

4. Flexible schedules. Most employees desire a work schedule that easily enables them to balance work with their personal life. To meet these demands, consider offering options such as telecommuting, flextime, job sharing, and shift swapping when appropriate. Employers that fail to offer their employees the flexibility to leave work early to care for a sick child or to attend a parent-teacher conference are not likely to keep quality employees around for very long.

5. Increased responsibilities. Most employees are interested in performing work that is challenging. Whereas, work that is repetitive or requires little thought often results in disengagement. Increase job responsibilities and you will likely see an increase in dedication and commitment.

6. Make advancement opportunities known. Employees that work toward a personal goal, such as career growth are motivated to work hard. So, let your employees know they're doing well, inform them of advancement opportunities, and work with them to help them reach their career goals.

7. Just say "thank you". It's the thought that counts. So if you can't afford a pay increase this year, think of other creative ways to show your employees that they're appreciated. Simple forms of recognition, such as praise, thank you notes, and "employee of the month" awardscan go a long way in keeping your employees happy.

8. Tie rewards to performance. When rewards are tied to job performance, employees are more likely to put forth the effort and produce quality results. On the contrary, when employees come to expect pay increases or other rewards "just because", their performance is likely to remain marginal. It's important to reward employee performance soon after a job well done so that the employee makes the connection between their hard work and the reward received.

Given the circumstances of the current economy, pay increases may not be on the top of your company's to-do list. But to be effective, employee rewards don't have to dip into your company's budget. Alternatives to pay increases, such as a formal employee recognition program, an extra day off, or even a simple "thank you" go a long way in showing employees that they're appreciated - and that may be all that's needed to keep your top performers around.


About the Author

Michael Pires is the President of, an award-winning online human resources support and information portal providing on-demand access to downloadable forms, online background checking tools, plain-English State and Federal employment laws, Employee Handbooks and much more. Visit today.

Michael J. Pires