QUESTION: How can you best reward and motivate long-term employees who are strong performers and are already receiving good salaries and bonuses?

ANSWER: Companies are finding a number of ways to expand responsiveness and flexibility beyond traditional compensation programs to retain top employees:

  • Flexible schedules: Options include employees working more hours on certain days and fewer on others, in fixed or variable schedules. Compressed work weeks offer employees the opportunity to bundle two full weeks of full-time work into a fixed schedule of eight or nine days. In all circumstances the programs are structured to meet business objectives while recognizing individual needs.
  • Job Sharing: Two or more people splitting position responsibilities is another way to acknowledge personal needs while bringing diversity of experience to a singular position. Individuals sharing jobs and working part time may potentially reduce benefit costs while retaining talent that may otherwise choose to retire or leave the company. Factors to consider are the need to communicate between position participants and the transferability of knowledge.
  • Telecommuting: Employees with high motivation, self discipline, necessary skills and independent orientation are ideal candidates to work off site. Loyalty and productivity may be enhanced in telecommuting situations, however companies should have mechanisms in place to measure the success and contributions of telecommuting workers.
  • Paid leave banks: A structured program that combines vacation, short-term sick leave, personal days and emergency leave is a way to reward and motivate employees. Although the company retains the right to grant approval for leave, the employee can accrue more discretionary days than with some traditional programs. The costs remain the same for the company, while participants perceive greater control and are more likely to remain contented in the long term.
  • Phased retirement: By offering a combination of pension modification and staggered working periods a program can be structured to reduce overall expenses, motivate and retain the employee and help meet business objectives.
  • Developmental opportunities and career planning: Many individuals express frustration in performing the same responsibilities over and over. The ability of a company to structure career planning programs, including job rotations, skills training, and project management assignments are of interest to many employees. Providing opportunities to learn new technologies, methods and accomplish new achievements is significant in capturing prolonged interest from high potential staff. Giving people the opportunity to gain exposure and implement new programs while building self esteem and credibility is valuable for both the company and the employee. Opportunity and recognition of accomplishments can prove to be a much more lucrative incentive than any financial considerations a company may offer.

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