Top Performers: You can keep them on your staff with the right incentives

By Lynn Lochbihler

There are more important things in life than money, at least when it comes to how people rate job satisfaction. Research shows that most workers don’t put money as their number one concern. Things like flexibility,  challenging work and recognition are very often rated higher.

These and other non-monetary perks can have a big return for individual employees. Having a range of options such as flex hours or the ability to work (at least part of the time) from home can mean the difference between a highly-skilled staff member staying with an employer or searching for a new job.

An employee recognition program is incredibly easy to establish, doesn’t have to cost much (if anything) and lets high-achieving staff know that they are appreciated. It can also urge other employees to try harder. The program could use different levels of recognition, including a personal note of thanks from the owner/manager, an Employee of the Month Award, an Employee of the Year Award, and team recognition. Going further, why not present an annual community service award? If one of your staff gives of their time to support a charity or a kids’ sports team, acknowledge it!

It’s a basic rule of business that you should always play to your strengths. A small to medium size company may not be able to match huge corporations in terms of dollar power, but they have a definite advantage in providing staff with an individualized approach to human resources issues. A big corporation, on the other hand, may be forced to use a “cookie cutter” method just to make sure everything gets done.

Smaller organizations usually exhibit more flexibility than larger concerns that may have become rigid. This flexibility can include letting staff choose their own rewards for exceptional performance, a more family-like atmosphere at work, and a better balance between work and home life. Of course, these things may come with their own challenges, but that’s where human resources professionals come in. 

Even if your business isn’t an enormous multinational, there are things you can give your employees that match what big business offers. Take Health Spending Accounts (HSAs) for example. The marketplace is changing and HSAs are becoming more popular. There is no reason smaller employers can’t offer these programs as well. To remain competitive, the insurance industry has had to find ways to provide flexible, lower cost benefit plans to smaller employers.

By addressing these and other quality of life issues in your HR policies, you are greatly increasing the chances of skilled staff staying with you for the long haul.



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