Most mid- and lower-level employees plan on switching jobs every two years. They’ve been taught, by their peers and by the market itself, that this is the best strategy for achieving long term professional and financial growth. On the other side of that office door are CEOs, managers, and HR professionals who would do just about anything to keep these talented people from leaving their ranks.
Few companies are doing enough to incentivize employees to remain at their posts. They may have the basic necessities like well-rounded benefits, above-market salaries, and upward mobility paths covered, but they’re not developing the extra elements that make a company a really wonderful place to work. It all comes down to corporate culture, and whether or not your employees feel appreciated. Most employees would argue that employer loyalty is dead because they just don’t feel valued by the companies they work for.
If you’re struggling to figure out how to make employees feel valued, consider implementing some of the strategies below. They’re practical, easily-applicable, and relatively low-cost. By building these tips into an employee retention program, you’ll establish a culture of recognition that makes your company a far more attractive long-term home for all employees.
7 Ways to Make Employees Feel Valued
1. Use social media for public recognition.
Most supervisors know they need to frequently acknowledge the good work of their direct reports—but few actually maximize their impact by taking recognition to a public sphere. Social media provides a powerful opportunity to shout out employee successes and increase their feelings of pride, accomplishment, and belonging. Try giving personalized “recommendations” on LinkedIn when employees really go above and beyond.
2. Provide unexpected time off.
Some companies participate in “Summer Fridays” every single year—which are nice, obviously, but not very effective at helping employees feel valued. Comparatively, imagine that you announce to your staff that thanks to their incredible hard work in Q3, they will have the entire week of Christmas off as a company-wide holiday. That kind of surprise makes PTO seem like a gift from a very appreciative company to its highly-valued staff.
3. Ask for frequent feedback.
Employees know their value when you consistently listen to and act on their feedback. By offering frequent and varied opportunities for candid feedback, and following through with acknowledgment of the issues raised and appropriate action within a reasonable time frame, you’re showing employees that you see them as valuable decision-makers in their own right. If you want your staff to feel like they have a stake in your company, give them that opportunity.
4. Incentivize your entire staff.
Every company offers incentives. Travel rewards, cash bonuses, and employee awards are some of the most common. However, these incentives often fail to engage employees simply because they’re awarded to only the top 5% of performers. What are you doing to motivate the other 95%? You want to provide incentives that convince everyone that the minute increases in productivity they make each day really matter to you and the company as a whole.
5. Enhance your weekly or monthly contests.
Contests are traditionally great motivators for employees in metrics-based industries like call centers or shipping and fulfillment. You might already be running an end-of-quarter push program—but what are you offering as a reward? If you haven’t yet tried this, consider donating to the winning team’s charity of choice. This shows employees that you value what they value. That you trust their judgment and want to support the causes that matter most to them. Whatever you can do to further employees’ outside-of-work interests will help them feel more comfortable staying with you for the long term.
6. Communicate well and often.
If you value your employees’ opinions on critical company issues, it only makes sense that you would also communicate those issues openly and on a frequent basis. Communication is the biggest avenue for trust-building in any relationship, but particularly in the corporate setting. Involve your team in discussions on major policy changes. Let them know when sudden changes alter your company’s trajectory. It’s hard to communicate faster than the corporate gossip chain, but the closer you get to this goal, the better your employees will feel.
7. Implement a meaningful recognition program.
Finally, and most importantly, the best way to make employees feel valued is to systematically recognize them for the hard work they do every single day. A comprehensive employee recognition program that’s fully customized to your staff will go a long way toward improving your overall retention rates. Plus, you get the added benefits of improved engagement, productivity, and company culture. Take the time to strategize, design, and implement a rewards program that’s meaningful for your employees, with high-value rewards and even higher value social currency. Your bottom line will thank you.
Employee loyalty is not dead, but it’s definitely shifted away from the traditional model companies got very used to in the past five decades. In general, employees still feel obligated to stick with a company for at least a year or two before looking for better opportunities. The problem is, there are always better opportunities. The strategies above will help turn your company into one of those “better” opportunities—the place where talented workers flock to and stay for years to come.
At Inproma, we believe in using employee recognition to boost retention rates and improve the overall sense of loyalty in corporate settings. The rewards and recognition programs we design have helped CEOs in a wide variety of industries reduce turnover costs and retain their best talent. Interested in learning more about our game-changing approach? Let’s talk.