How to keep employees happy, and at your company

Posted by Siobhan Hitchmough
happy employees

Traditionally the New Year is a time for change and growth. For employees that may mean looking for new and more exciting employment. But what if you’re the current employer? And what if the employee in question is one of your top performers?

Traditionally the New Year is a time for change and growth.  For employees that may mean looking for new and more exciting employment.  But what if you’re the current employer?  And what if the employee in question is one of your top performers?  Because losing strong employees can be difficult, it’s important to nurture employee loyalty. 

Both because you will have fewer employees who want to leave, and as employees who care for your business will be concerned with helping you find the right replacement if they do.

According to most experts, the key to keeping employees satisfied seems to be linked to recognition and the ability to learn new things.  Recognizing an employee’s ability to take on a difficult task and then providing positive feedback can go a long way.  This type of recognition can help employees feel as though they are part of a team.  Although it can sometimes be difficult, the companies producing the strongest employees (referred to by some as “talent factories”) provide some type of personal recognition.  “Don’t be afraid to single out stars,” says Rieva Lesonky of SmallBusinessTrends.com, “It may be politically incorrect, but measuring and labelling employees is regularly practiced at all ‘talent factories.’”

There are many services which offer support for companies developing recognition programs for employees.  But for smaller companies, large scale recognition programs such as a points and purchase type of program may not be practical.  The good news is that for most employees it is as simple as thanking them for their work, either through an employee recognition party or through monetary compensation.  However it appears that even more important than compensation may be honesty.  Which may be why, according to Stephanie Findlay at Macleans magazine, we’re seeing a reduction in employee loyalty of late.

“A new study by Ipsos Reid has found another nasty side effect of the recession: plummeting employee loyalty. Across the country, 22 per cent of Canadian employees are expressing decreased loyalty to their employer, the study found—a direct result of the economic downturn.”  Findlay goes on to explain that the study claims that company loyalty has also reduced amongst the managerial and executive set.  It seems that many companies assured jobs were safe to quell panic during the recession, only to turn to lay-offs shortly thereafter.  “Employees have long memories,” says JB Aloy of Ipsos Reif.

So what’s to be done?  Well, if we believe the results of the Ipsos Reid study, employees should be encouraged through praise, personal involvement by management, consistent feedback and offering in-house and offsite training options to expand their experience.  What these practices seem to accomplish is nurturing an employee’s feeling of involvement in the company’s achievement and future.  While you won’t be able to prevent employees from moving on if the time is right, in gaining their loyalty, you may find you gain champions of your company.  What’s more, when a strong employee enjoyed their time with your company, they’ll often be inclined to recommend their own high achieving friends to replace them.

There’s a lot to be said to be said for treating your employees with honesty and integrity and when it’d done properly, a company can gain the much sought after title of being “a great place to work”.

Resources

Lesonsky, Rieva. “Want to keep employees?  Learn from the talent factories.” January 19, 2011. < http://smallbiztrends.com/2011/01/want-to-keep-key-employees-learn-from-the-talent-masters.html> January 19, 2011

Spencer, Daniel G. “Employee Voice and Employee Retention.” JSTOR: Academy of Management Journal Vol 29. No. 3 (1986): n. Pag. Web. 19 Jan. 2011.

Findlay, Stephanie. “Employee loyalty takes a nasty fall.” July 30, 2011. < http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/07/30/employee-loyalty-takes-a-nasty-fall/> January 19, 2011

Siobhan Hitchmough

About Siobhan Hitchmough

Siobhan Hitchmough is a customer advocate, community manager and part-time tutorial wrangler. When she's not seeking out new challenges she leads the community and support team at inFlow Inventory.

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