Employee retention rates are a clear indicator of the health of an organization. Employees who want to stick around do so because they believe in the product or service delivered; feel a connection to the greater company mission; and realize a return on the investment of their time and energy, in the form of skill advancement, a sense of value and belonging, and more.
When your best workers stay with you for the long term, it strengthens overall knowledge-share and saves you money that would have been spent (several times over) on recruiting efforts for a replacement.
So how do the most successful companies keep employees for the long term? The secret is a regular practice of rewarding and recognizing their people in different ways that make them want to stay.
Here are 7 ways top companies are going above and beyond to retain their top performers:
Employees Choose Their Own Title
Giving workers the freedom to name their own job is definitely a non-traditional way of approaching titles. But it has an arguably positive benefit. The Academy of Management Journal published a study of people with self-appointed job titles and concluded that allowing them this privilege could reduce emotional exhaustion for employees with big shoes to fill in stressful environments.
They Inject Gamification into Their Culture
Gamification takes a normally mundane job and frames it as a challenge to make a task more engaging. The concept of gamification can be easily directed at customers, but it’s so popular that 70% of Forbes Global 2000 companies will use it to try and increase employee engagement and boost retention. Gamification is also effective in increasing team productivity, especially with newer employees.
Unlimited Vacation Exists
Although it’s far from the status quo, some companies like Hubspot have no policy on vacation time, meaning employees can take off as much time from work as they want. They don’t need approval from anyone. They just go.
This freedom gives workers the truest sense of work-life balance that’s possible for anyone with a full-time job. When possible, instituting an unlimited vacation policy helps reduce pressure on employee’s lives and strengthens their appreciation of the employer.
They Avoid Bureaucracy with a Flat Structure
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh wants to completely rid his company of managers in favor of a flat hierarchy in which there are no job titles. He even had someone write a 500-page culture book detailing how to avoid corporate bureaucracy while staying true to the company’s startup roots.
Hsieh’s plan is still a work in progress and his proposed flat structure may not be for everyone. But, he’s attempting to build a company that’s designed to keep the employees who truly buy into the culture. This is an uncommon yet welcoming environment for certain personality types.
Free Food is Always a Great Idea
It’s well documented that Google gives its employees free food for every meal of the day, if they so choose. There is a wide range of edibles along with coffee and juice bars available throughout their campuses. This helps Google’s employees to bond and saves them the effort of always having to pay for and put together their next meal.
Realistically, not all companies can provide unlimited food, but starting a bagel Monday or pizza Friday ritual can go a long way in simplifying your employee’s lives.
They Offer a ROWE
In 2003, Best Buy rolled out a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) where the only relevant metric was productivity. This new approach eliminated the need for weekly meetings and even commuting to work for some. Due to the success of the program, Best Buy was added to Fortune’s 2006 list of America’s Most Admired Companies.
Implementing this type of policy must be conducive to the nature of the business that uses it. When done correctly, a ROWE can create spikes in employee productivity and engagement.
Corporate Social Responsibility Matters
Since Gen Y will compose 75% of the global workforce by 2025, sensible and successful companies will look to cater to that audience. According to a 2011 study by TBWA/Worldwide and TakePart, 3 out of every 4 Millennials “believe that corporations should create economic value for society by addressing its needs.”
The companies that commit to corporate social responsibility are helping a legitimate cause and giving their employees something they can easily stand behind, especially Gen Y workers.
Why You Don’t Want Your (Best) Employees to Go
A 2012 Center for American Progress study concluded it costs up to 21% of an employee’s annual salary to find a replacement for that person. If your best workers hit the road, you’re losing leadership, efficiency and possibly a dip in future profits.
Seeing how other successful companies retain their talent, the common thread is that they make life both at and away from work, more fun, which is always a great option.
A valuable way to start on this path is to adopt a platform like Cooleaf to build an even stronger sense of team within your workforce.
Interested in learning more about how to retain and delight your people? Cooleaf can help — let's chat!