How to Retain Your Employees the Right Way

Make no mistake. Salary is important to every worker in America, and throughout the world. But just because your company's "cost-of-living" raises are better than most, doesn't mean you're doing everything you can to satisfy employees. And you could pay the price by losing them to other companies that will.

Besides being an effective manager, here are other ways you can compensate your staff that go beyond salary increases:

Provide on-site day care.

There is a day care crisis in America. In this country, 10 million children under the age of 6 do not have a parent home during the day because of their work. The same is true for 13 million children between 6 and 13. And many parents are finding it increasingly more difficult to locate satisfactory day care, let alone afford it.

But according to recent studies, corporations who do get involved with child care report lower turnover, lower absenteeism among parents whose children attend the center, and better recruitment efforts. Those facts alone should make providing day care benefits worth your consideration.

Reduce workweeks.

Other countries do it with great success, but America has been reluctant to change its standard workweek. Until now. More and more companies are permitting employees to work four, 10-hour days a week. And the results are surprising - employees accomplish more in a reduced work week than the usual 9 to 5, five days a week. It seems that Fridays may be even more unproductive than anyone realized.

Allow job-sharing.

Take better advantage of the part-time workforce and allow job sharing. A recent study of working parents with small children found that job-sharing was considered a highly attractive option when considering an employment opportunity. According to a report in Human Resources Executive, two employees sharing one job are more productive than one employee working full time.

Provide flexible-hour alternatives.

In a study of American workers by the Gallup Organization, it found that a vast majority of employees consider flexible hours an important part of a job. In fact, one study found that two-thirds of working men and woman would reject a promotion if it required them to spend less time with their families, and would consider flexible hours an attractive option. By developing a work schedule that meets both your needs and your employees, productivity will increase, absenteeism will decrease, and employee morale will soar. Consider these benefits, and keep your options open to other ways you can meet employees' unique needs.

Let certain employees work at home.

Sounds risky, but studies show that productivity increases from 20 to 40 percent when people work at home. Why? It seems that when employees are based out of the house they work at their peak times with fewer interruptions and distractions, have more freedom from peer pressures and productivity norms, spend less time and energy dealing with the hassle of commuting, and miss fewer workdays.

And with laptops, blackberries and teleconferencing technology available at reasonable cost, there's practically nothing an employee can't do at home.

Emphasize career development.

Encourage employees to consider improving their education, and offer tuition reimbursement if their selected course of study can benefit your company in the long run. Be sure to set up a system that ensures employees won't "skip town" once their degrees are well in hand.

Provide opportunities for employees to attend seminars that will improve their skills. Hold in-house seminars if costs necessitate. To foster career guidance, set up a mentorship program in your company that pairs high-level executives with young professionals.

Do what you can to show you're willing to invest company resources to help your employees move up the corporate ladder, and they will stay to see how far they can go. Guaranteed.

Encourage physical fitness.

High cholesterol and high blood pressure counts are amongst a corporation's worst enemies. Keeping your employees healthy should be a major priority. Many companies pay for employees' health club memberships, offer rewards for employees that quit smoking, and hold aerobic classes during work hours.

Always find new ways to compensate excellence.

When employees reward your company with outstanding results, reciprocate the effort. Some companies provide incentives such as trips to tropical islands, or company cars, or home computers. Don't offer the same incentives over and over again. Seek out different ways to reward your employees to maintain an edge on competitors. And whatever the incentive, make sure it meets a real need of the employee, whether it's a stress-relieving family vacation (if there's such a thing!), or a voucher for a selected day care facility.

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