10 Best Ways to Recognize and Retain Your Employees

Many companies acknowledge that employees are their best asset and take great pride in having the best people in the industry. As such, you make every effort to retain your top talent. But sometimes it’s difficult to find new and creative ways to recognize your employees in a way that is both effective and long lasting. Here are the best ways that LeasePlan USA has found to recognize and retain its employees.

1. Employee Satisfaction Survey. Survey your employees on an annual basis. It sends a very clear message that employees have a say in what goes on at your company. Employee engagement is measured so you can stay on top of how the company is performing. For example, make sure it includes a question about the last time they were recognized by their manager for a job well done. It’s a great way to keep your managers aware of how important it is. But you have to also act on their feedback.

2. Employee of the Month. At many companies, front row parking spaces are reserved for executives. As a way to reward employees that have gone above and beyond and truly exemplified your companies’ values, use these spots as a recognition tool. Give employees the privilege of parking there for an entire month. It’s a very nice gesture to makes frontline employees feel like executives. Take it a step further and, from that pool of candidates, choose an employee of the quarter. This employee is given front row parking for the entire quarter AND a fuel card.

3. Special Events, Dedicated to Thanking Employees. Host an annual employee appreciation day with lunch, games, prizes, etc. -“ just a really great time for employees to enjoy the fact that the company they work for values their efforts. Another way to show that appreciation, especially if you are a customer-service oriented business, is to celebrate Customer Service Week in October. Plan an entire week of fun and learning revolving around providing excellent internal and external customer service. It strengthens your business while furthering the happiness of your employees.

4. Set Financial Goals and Reward Employees for Meeting Them. Make sure your company’s financial goals are clearly stated and reported on throughout the year. Dangling a carrot, perhaps a company party, for exceeding those goals, is a great way to keep your employees’ eyes on the prize every day. It gives them something to work toward and look forward to all year long. But make sure you are accruing funds throughout the year to finance these extras.

5. Added Benefits. You probably already provide health insurance, 401 (k), etc. to your employees. A great way to boost those benefits is by providing “lagniappe” -“ a little something extra. For example, small bonuses, such as a $500 check at the holidays or a gas card to help fund summer vacation getaways. Employees really feel like they are seeing the fruits of their labor when you add profit sharing to their 401K. And even on-the-spot bonuses in the form of a gift card for meeting small goals can make an employee feel valued.

6. Fostering an Environment of Open Communication. Open communication is the key to a successful business. And utilizing several methods of communication, including top down and bottom up, is crucial. To communicate the state of the company each quarter, host a Town Hall meeting led by executives. During these meetings, give employees an open forum to ask questions about anything on their minds. In addition, management should truly have an “open-door policy.” Much like the employee survey mentioned above, employees want and need to be heard to keep them happy and productive.

7. Senior Leadership Presence. Building off of the environment of open communication, your leadership presence is just as important, especially when talking about driving the culture. Your culture is driven from the top. Management sets the tone, but employees implement it.

8. Employee-Driven Committees. Allow employees to take part in committees that are outside their general job responsibilities. They can empower employees and help drive your culture. For example, at LeasePlan we have a health and wellness committee to plan educational opportunities, lead running/walking groups, coordinate the company softball team, etc. We also have a Fun at Work committee that plans the annual employee appreciation day and holiday events.

9. Educational Opportunities. By investing in employees’ professional development, any company can deliver a more defined focus on client satisfaction. Provide employees with a wide variety of training opportunities in a number of different formats through an educational program, to keep it top-of-mind among employees. Set a training goal annually, such as 40 hours per year per employee. And evaluate employees on it during their performance reviews.

10. Have fun at work. It’s OK to smile and laugh while also working hard.

Mary Christy serves as senior vice president, human resources for LeasePlan USA. In this role, she leads HR strategy for talent acquisition, retention and management, employee engagement and development and the LeasePlan total rewards strategy. She also manages all HR activities including employee health and welfare programs, retirement plans and payroll. More about Christy and LeasePlan USA at www.us.leaseplan.com.

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Richard Blanchard
Rick is the Managing Editor of Corp! magazine. He has worked in reporting and editing roles at the Port Huron Times Herald, Lansing State Journal and The Detroit News, where he was most recently assistant business editor. A native of Michigan, Richard also worked in Washington state as a reporter, photographer and editor at the Anacortes American. He received a bachelor of arts from the University of Michigan and a master’s in accountancy from the University of Phoenix.