Obviously, paying your employees a good living wage is absolutely crucial if you want to retain them. However, money isn’t the only reason behind an employee’s decision to stay with an organization or leave it. And even though the wage being offered is certainly one of the main things would-be employees consider before taking a job, and raises can definitely help to keep them around, offering them more money every year or so to stay with you is not the only way to retain your best staff members.
In fact, some studies conducted on this particular topic have shown that most employees believe that having great work relationships is a lot more important than how high their salaries are going to be. Can it be said that money can’t buy happiness in the workplace? It appears to be that way for the majority of workers.
So what can you do as an employer to keep employees happy and wanting to continue working with you outside of throwing more money at them periodically? Here are some ideas.
Hire Better Leaders
Here’s a stat you need to consider. A recent study shows that 65 percent of American workers would rather have a new boss than a pay raise. That’s a lot of disgruntled workers who don’t like their leadership! You hear a lot about managers needing to have the ability to find the weakest links in the team and get rid of the people who are making the workplace a negative and unenjoyable place to be, but you rarely hear about the importance of weeding out the bad managers. According to the aforementioned study, it’s obvious that there are millions of workers in North America who are not very fond of the people they work under. The solution? Try to promote leaders within your organization based on their people skills and ability to be positive forces within a team instead of strictly on technical know-how. The better your leaders are, the happier your employees will be working for them. And there’s probably no amount of money that is going to convince someone to keep working for a manager they loathe.
Offer Development and Advancement Opportunities
Money is certainly a motivator when it comes to the amount of effort employees are putting into their jobs every day, but it’s not the only factor. Instead of simply offering them more money to continue doing the same jobs they’ve been doing the entire time they’ve been with your organization, why not give them a chance to learn new things and develop themselves professionally? If you are dedicated to investing in your workforce, invest in expanding their skill sets. Not only will you be getting more knowledgeable and skillful employees who will be able to help your business in ways they hadn’t been able to previously, you’ll also get motivated and happy employees who feel fulfilled by the fact that they are learning new things and expanding their professional horizons.
Offer Better Benefits
Offering better and more substantial benefits is a great way to show that you care about your employees and is more impactful than simply offering a raise. Giving employees better health benefits and offering free education are both good examples. A study conducted by Bright Horizons, an organization that provides company-sponsored child care and other benefits, showed that almost 90 percent of employees that have a high level of well-being at their jobs experience greater job satisfaction as well. Employees who feel that their companies care about their health and general well-being are generally a lot more loyal and would rather stay with a company that offers a wide range of those types of benefits than work elsewhere for a higher wage without the benefits. Another good thing for you is that many of these health benefits are tax deductible. So not only are you paying less in income taxes, you’re also getting some money coming back to you.
Make Work Fun
It has been confirmed time and time again that happier workers are more productive. Providing a positive workplace culture that allows people to be themselves, have fun, and form strong relationships within the organization has been proven to be a great way to retain talent. Your best workers are usually interested in more than the bottom line and they are not going to stick around in a boring, cold, and impersonal work culture - no matter how much you’re willing to pay them. Keeping the atmosphere at work light-hearted and positive really makes a difference. Taking time out to have fun at work decreases stress, builds stronger bonds, and enables your organization to mesh the work/life experience by getting employees to see you as more of a family than simply a place to work. Not only does this type of approach make employees happier, it also makes your job a lot more fun and exciting in the process.
Provide More Frequent Mini-Rewards
It’s not the size of the reward that’s important, it’s the frequency. Periodic positive feedback can go a long way in keeping your employees happy. It’s even more financially prudent to offer your employees small bonuses on a regular basis than to promise them raises every year. These rewards don’t always have to be financial either. You can reward great work by giving people afternoons off or more paid vacation days during the holiday season. Employees respond better to small and frequent rewards than to large and infrequent ones, so reminding your employees on a regular basis that you appreciate their work and what they bring to your team will keep them motivated and happier in the long run.
More than ever before, retaining your best workers is more about culture than money. This is especially true for millennials. Today’s workers seek personal fulfillment, a better work/life balance, and more engaging experiences at the workplace. It’s important to remember that getting out your chequebook won’t fix problems that could (and probably should) be ingrained in your corporate culture.