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Strategy #6: Just Ask: Are Your Employees Satisfied?

Retention is inextricably linked to employee satisfaction, so it pays to periodically survey employees —hopefully before their exit interviews—about job satisfaction issues, and act on the data gathered. The aim is to determine why some employees depart and some remain with the company, and to define the traits of productive, successful employees. Many companies examine the reasons employees leave, which don't reveal as much as the reasons they stay.

An important aspect of implementing a retention program is understanding that it should not be one-size-fits-all. If incentives are meant to keep employees happy, then they truly have to be designed with the employee in mind. Too often, employers and employees disagree on what constitutes a good incentive. For example, a company might reward a father with three young children a monetary bonus as thanks for working overtime for five months straight. To the father, however, days off might have been more attractive, since they would have allowed him to spend time with his family.

Knowing your employees and personalizing rewards makes a difference. The global workforce has different, individualized needs, and organizations should tailor incentives for their employees if they want to retain them. If your company doesn't bother, don't be surprised if workers head for the door as soon as year-end bonuses are handed out or stock options vest.

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