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Even if you give your employees all the conditions for work, you can’t make them give it their best. This is on them, but with the right incentive, it shouldn’t be that much of a challenge. You’ll have to be creative, though.

You see, you can’t raise their pay indefinitely, and you can’t just promote them every time you feel like incentivizing them. Not all incentives are material, and here are a few ideas to get your employees to work as hard as possible.

The role of incentives in employee retention

Incentives play a very important role in employee retention. Here is how:

1. Give them a flexible work environment

Give your employees a chance to choose if they’ll work from home, in an office, or enjoy a hybrid model. Flexible work hours are also great because they allow you to organize your time better and achieve a greater work-life balance. It’s not hard to imagine an employee choosing a business because they offer flexible working hours.

The best thing is that you’re not even making a sacrifice of any kind. Sure, you may prefer them to work from the office, but with so many tools and platforms, you can achieve the same efficiency without insisting on this traditional work model.

Remember that some time-monitoring platforms tend to be invasive and are incredibly unpopular among your employees. This would probably be far more efficient if you could set deadlines (instead of insisting on work hours). Unfortunately, this won’t always be possible.

Also, many people work side gigs and part-time jobs. Instead of being jealous of it and sanctioning your employees, make sure to accommodate them (as long as they do their tasks for your company admirably). This business world trend is not going anywhere, so going against it will only result in shooting yourself in the leg.

2. Offer them a chance to grow

Many employees will stay in a position with lower pay if it means they’ll get a chance to learn and grow professionally. For this to work, you’ll have to introduce a mentorship program, improve your onboarding and spend more money on your training.

Also, keep in mind that millennials highly value making a difference. This means giving them autonomy, delegating them with higher responsibility, and giving them a challenge may be more rewarding than you believe.

Sometimes a lateral move will feel like a promotion. A lateral move will be incredibly incentivizing if you’re moving them in a line where they can learn more, advance further, or put an impressive point on their CV later. For instance, you can incentivize them to learn more about Webflow SEO services and then move them to your marketing team. From here, they acquire actionable skills that will be useful in their own right.

Sure, this idea of boosting their CV so they can leave you sounds counterintuitive, but let’s face it, the majority of your employees won’t stay with you forever. With that in mind, isn’t it best to incentivize them to give it their best while still in your employ? Isn’t it better to part on good terms and have them sing your praises for years and decades? At least this question isn’t that difficult to answer.

3. Prevent burnout

Chasing a deadline can be incredibly taxing for the mental health of your employees. This is why your moral and ethical obligation is to do all you can to prevent this type of burnout in your employees. You see, while you can’t control how much they work, you can encourage them to take active breaks and try putting less pressure on them (even passively).

Another thing you can do, on a micro level, is insist on working methods like interval working. Some enterprises encourage this by installing standing desks on their office floor. While this is an interesting concept, try it out first. This is not everyone’s cup of tea, so you should start with one experimental corner of your office and make it optional.

PTO (personal time off) policy is a way to make a healthier work-life balance more systemic. What you’re aiming for is long-term performance by your employees instead of rushing to get the most value out of them in the shortest possible time span. It’s a common-sense objective but not one that many employers follow these days.

As you care about customer experience, you want to create a positive employee experience. This can be a part of it.

4. React to their feedback

You can command respect without being scary and radiate authority without being authoritarian. The only thing authoritarianism will get you is higher abandonment rates and lower-quality feedback. People need to know they can come to you with a problem without repercussions. This should be a default, but this just won't be the case in most workplaces and with most people.

This feedback is essential to the growth of your organization since, as a leader, you’ll have a different view of your enterprise. You won’t be able to see some angles from your perspective, and you’ll have to rely on others to convey this.

The exit interview is one of your most important pieces of data. Lately, a new trend in this field is the stay interview. This is your last opportunity to change an employee to change their mind and stay, but they also provide invaluable insight that will help you keep others from leaving. In a way, it is a stay interview but not one designed to make the interviewee stay.

5. Get rid of bad employees

Tolerating laziness is an injustice against your hard-working staff members. However, not all bad employees ignore their tasks of slacking.

Some have a tendency to incite mutinies, backstabbing, or distracting others. The worst part is that their own performance record won’t show this. On paper, they may be one of your best-performing employees, but, as a whole, they lower the productivity of your entire team.

This is why you must adopt a more team-centric approach to assessing your workforce’s effectiveness.

15 employee retention incentives ideas

Naturally, you sometimes have to make an active effort in order to retain employees, so here are 15 such ideas you should consider.

1. Internal promotions

Your employees need to know that, when the time comes, you won’t bring in someone else to place in a managerial spot. They want it to be someone from the ranks. Even if it’s not them, by promoting one of their colleagues, you’re also giving them hope that this might happen for them at one point.

2. Performance bonuses

This point is pretty simple and doesn’t require much explanation – if your employees do a great job, you want to reward them financially. The difference between a performance bonus and pay is that they expect and feel like they deserve the latter, so they don’t feel gratitude for it. Bonuses are seen differently.

3. Employee discount

You can offer your employees a special employee discount if your employees are also your customers. This could also earn social credit because they can order an item for their friend or family member using their discount.

4. Extra vacation days

Like with bonuses, they are already entitled to their vacation days, but what about giving them a few extra days to reward them for their exemplary behavior and admirable performance? It’s small for you but could make a difference for them.

5. Work anniversaries

After a while, your employees may feel like you’re taking them for granted. Why not host a work anniversary party and even buy them a gift to show them this is not the case?

6. Profit sharing

Why would your staff care about the outcome of a project if they’re working on a salary? Regardless if the project succeeds or fails, their income is not affected. Sure, company reputation and long-term health also affect them, but this is too abstract and too far in the future. Instead, start basing their bonuses on the profit percentage.

7. Giving them shares in your company

By rewarding your loyal employees with shares in your company, you’re giving them a reason to try harder. One of the most incentivizing ways to approach this is to give your employees a sense of ownership in the company. This way, it’s not just a sense; you’re giving them a share.

8. Career development programs

People often leave your employment because they don’t believe they have a future in your enterprise. However, if they had a roadmap for their career development, they wouldn’t be as eager to leave.

9. Company-sponsored social events

Teambuilding opportunities have a utility, but for most of your staff members, they’re just an excuse for a team to have fun. So, consider taking your team to paintball or an escape room for bonding.

10. Employee referral program

Whenever there’s a job opening, ask your employees to recommend someone. This will show them that you value their opinion and, like with the discount, this is a great chance for them to earn some social points.

11. Special projects

Some people abandon employers because they don’t feel challenged. So, whenever you feel like someone hasn’t been “challenged” for too long, switch them to a special project or assignment.

12. Flexible work arrangements

Now, this is different from giving everyone special work hours. Why would anyone feel special/grateful about it if it's your standard business model? Instead, you can grant flexible work arrangement “privileges” to individuals.

13. Employee wellness programs

Going above and beyond to offer special privileges to your employees is a great way to show them you care. A gym, yoga, or library membership is really not that expensive, but it has a significant psychological effect on your staff.

14. Health insurance enhancements

The quality of your health insurance program may show that you really care and that it’s worth it for one to stay in your employ. A standard policy is more than some workplaces provide, but going above and beyond will always have a deeper impact.

15. Mentorship opportunities

People like working with experts, which is incredibly beneficial for their career plans. So, if you employ reputable people and industry experts, the rest of your staff might feel incentivized to stay around a while longer.

Wrapping up

In the end, incentivizing means giving your employees a reason to try harder. This can be because they respect you because they put value in their team or because they can see a personal gain from this action. Making them feel respected and like their career is going somewhere will give them all the necessary incentives. However, presenting things to them in this manner may be quite challenging.

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