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Retaining Your Top Employees

(October 2011) posted on Tue Sep 20, 2011

How to construct a positive work environment to ensure employee retention.

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By Marty McGhie

Earlier this year, The Big Picture referenced a Career Builder and USA Today study that asked this question to employees: “As the economy improves, how likely are you to start looking for another job?” More than 30 percent of the participants indicated that they were likely to explore other opportunities.

Now I don’t know about you, but our company would certainly not be happy with 30 percent of our employees looking for another job as the economy rebounds. Particularly if you assume that the 30 percent inclined to look elsewhere are probably the ones you value the most. (Maybe if I could hand pick the 30 percent that would look elsewhere, then it would be a different story– but, it doesn’t work that way.) When the economy gets better, then, your best employees might consider the idea of finding another job as not only a realistic option, but an appetizing one.

So how do you go about ensuring that you retain your best employees even during the most promising economic times? Let’s look at five ideas.

Positive and open atmosphere
First, I can’t stress enough the importance of creating a workplace that is comfortable and enjoyable for employees to work in. Clearly, work isn’t always fun, but being in an environment where employees are treated with respect and given the opportunity to enjoy themselves with their co-workers is critical to their overall happiness.

This doesn’t mean you have to create a carnival funhouse at the office – but there are simple things you can do as an employer to craft a positive image of your workplace. For example, try bringing in lunch every so often for everyone. Or invest in a grill and host a summer barbeque once a month. Although lunches and barbeques are inexpensive, they can provide a great opportunity to bring everyone together. Other similar ideas include: Have a summer picnic with your employees and their families to foster a sense of camaraderie. Bring in bagels or donuts every Friday morning. Consider giving your employees a certain amount of dollar credit each year for products that you manufacture. Make them feel like they are worth your while.