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Four tips for retaining employees

Employee incentive programs are effective tools for building a positive and energetic work environment.

High turnover rates end up costing companies a lot of time and money. Teams that are shorthanded for extended periods are less productive, while the recruiting process can cost firms thousands of dollars for each position. This makes retaining employees an important part of reaching operational goals and building a successful organization.

Employee incentive programs are effective tools for building a positive and energetic work environment. Engaged workers see less turnover, which reduces stress on teams and helps boost company performance. Here are some tips to help firms implement successful reward programs that increase employee retention.

Make reward programs fun
Jim Thompson, vice president for JMJ Philip, told CareerBuilder that a fun, family-like environment was essential to retaining top talent. Reward programs can be used to create regular luncheons or other events for staff that encourage employees at all levels to socialize. When monthly or quarterly goals are reached, celebrations allow companies to show some appreciation. These luncheons are the perfect opportunity to recognize the hard work of individuals and make sure that staff members know their efforts are being noticed.

Focus on healthcare
Regular exercise is a proven mood booster. It provides people with additional confidence, energy and optimism that translate into better performance at work. These benefits can be used in a group environment by creating corporate wellness programs that encourage workers to get in shape. Creating exercise or dieting support groups can not only lead to higher levels of engagement, but also reduce firms' overall healthcare costs. To improve retention of top talent, get employees moving and reward them for their efforts.

Customize plans for your workforce
Reward programs are not one-size-fits-all solutions. Different groups will respond to different incentives, so companies looking to boost participation first need to collect feedback about what their employees want. Accounting Today notes that generational differences will influence the types of incentives needed to create a successful program. Workers with families may want more flexible scheduling, while those nearing retirement may respond better to financial incentives.

Build a culture of recognition
With any reward program, consistency is the key to success. Rewards should be provided quickly to reinforce positive behavior. Managers should be able to instantly acknowledge employees who have put in extra effort. With frequent and timely recognition, businesses can build  supportive environments that employees don't want to leave.

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