Alternative Ways to Improve Employee Engagement and Retention

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“Alternative Ways to Improve Employee Engagement and Retention.”

By: Susan Ruhl

When there is a problem of any kind in the workplace, it seems most people think of “money” as the immediate solution. But isn’t necessarily the case.

I don’t think anyone would dispute that making good money is a nice thing to experience in life, but studies have shown for a very long time, that money is not the ultimate motivator for employees.  Given that, what can an employer do to demonstrate he or she values his or her employees? What benefits do employees truly appreciate from their employer?

It’s important to know what kind of employee engagement monetary rewards are and aren’t good at producing.  Money is great for attracting talent but when it comes to retaining it, other methods are much more effective at influencing behavior.

Employers should begin by not just “talking” to their teams but by “listening” to their employees.  What would employees find as rewarding, helpful and of a long-term value? Employers should sit down with a few leaders in their workforces, if meeting with all would not be feasible or practical.  Ask them to share some of their challenges both at work and home. If some are uncomfortable sharing in front of others, have them to write it down and give to the employer.

The number one influencer of engagement is that employees want opportunities to learn and grow within their roles or across roles in company.  They want to feel that they have purpose.

Additionally. employees want to be “heard” as well as appreciated. From some employers and employees, here are some of the “needs” and “requests” that employees have shared:

  • Many employees who are hardworking and talented have requested the opportunity to receive coaching and/or training in order to move up the company ladder. This is one of the top requests from employees.
  • Some who are older and are unsure of their abilities to afford to retire would value learning factual and practical information from an impartial source about what to expect in retirement—as well as some risks—and without any sales pitch.
  • Instead of pizza parties, many employees would appreciate some assistance with some of the other demands in their lives. For example, have a dry-cleaning service come to work to pick up and return clothing, or a daycare to come to the workplace, or a car repair service, as well as possible discounts for the employees.
  • If an employer is concerned about their employees’ health, perhaps the company can provide a discount at a gym or an onsite workout session after work.
  • Many employees today are struggling with debt; therefore, how about providing the employees with a “Money Management Workshop?” This could relieve these people from a lot of stress and may help them to be more productive.
  • Consider a Mentoring Program for employees.
  • If you have a very diverse workforce, it might be helpful to schedule an “Effective Communication Workshop,” which could build a more cohesive workforce.

Employers are encouraged to have an open exchange with employees on an as-needed basis, not just one time. Meeting once a quarter could dramatically improve employee engagement, loyalty and retention.


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