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Staff Appreciation Increases Retention Rates

I have witnessed firsthand the detrimental impact to a company when the employer fails to appreciate the steadfast commitment and dedication of its workers. This negativity can increase exponentially, until those individuals finally quit their jobs. This loyalty is typically demonstrated through:

  1. Extra work that goes above and beyond the contractual terms of employment;

  2. Talent and creativity that is fully exercised in the sole interest of furthering company goals—even relating to areas outside the job or role for which they are employed; and/or

  3. Personal and family sacrifice of precious overtime for which there is no financial compensation.

These types of actions and attitude by the work-force naturally result in increased job satisfaction and a vested long-term interest in seeing the company succeed. On the flip side, the managers and employers of such workers would also be expected to demonstrate tangible expressions of recognition or gratitude. However, it has been my experience that this chain of events does not automatically follow. There are many dysfunctional employers and companies who squander this boon; and by doing so, they reap the bitter rewards. This is a problem that can very often be found within the ranks of many small business owners and start-up entrepreneurs.

Typically, these companies face the challenge of a limited workforce and an excessive workload—not enough hands on deck and limited financial resources to adequately staff their venture—which is a reality that is most marked with increased demand and rapid growth. The business owner often assumes or expects that current staff will pick up the slack with extra tasks, extra responsibility, and longer than contracted hours, but with no added incentive or extra pay. I have seen, over and over again, the majority of workers will give and keep giving to a company if they believe that their efforts and dedication to the common vision is shared by colleagues and most importantly, affirmed by the boss. In the absence of acknowledged appreciation, workers become disheartened and demoralized, and eventually feel so devalued that their only recourse is to leave.

Given this scenario, staff retention rate will be low. The benefits and exponential gains of consistency, continuity, and a community of common goals will be difficult to maintain. The company will always be engaged or more accurately distracted by constantly recruiting, orienting, training, and familiarizing new workers with the business. Some businesses may even experience reversals in their fortunes. Many workers who leave as a result of bad experiences seldom take part in any exit strategy or go through a ‘hand-over’ procedure.

The new person coming in often needs to redo work, and overall progress is slowed. The result is unavoidable pressure on new staff, interruption or delay of services, and product delivery and dissatisfied customers. All of which affects the company’s bottom line—one strategy which bosses should adopt at the very start of business and be careful to maintain throughout is a clearly defined, openly stated policy of effective staff appreciation. Such a policy should be implemented regularly with something memorable for special seasons and/or milestones for workers as well as the company. After all, the workers are the very heart and soul of a business. They should be treated with respect and gratitude. The payoff for the business will be good morale; solidifying of loyalty; development of a healthy company culture; low staff turnover; increased productivity; and willingness of staff members to invest time, talent, and trust unreservedly.

Below is a brief list of 7 ways in which small companies may successfully show appreciation to their workers:

  1. Voiced appreciation for specific contributions at staff meetings.

  2. Personalized thank you cards, special feature in newsletters/bulletins or other gifts/tokens.

  3. Staged entertaining/relaxing staff events that bring everyone together regularly.

  4. Annual, quarterly, or monthly staff awards for named contribution.

  5. Bonus and/or profit sharing in recognition of time served and services rendered.

  6. Family and community days/events, and support of worker in personal community projects.

  7. Organized company trips/excursions.

Showing staff how much they are appreciated is a policy that many successful companies have taken to heart. One great example is Chieh Huang, CEO of Boxed Wholesale. He decided to pay the college tuition of his employees, and he also announced he will pay for the future weddings of employees after becoming aware of the hardships faced by one of his workers, who was caring for a sick mother while doing double shifts in order to afford their wedding.*

It is easy to see that such acts of staff appreciation motivates, inspires, and rewards the hard work, personal sacrifices, and loyalty of committed workers while conversely increasing retention rates of employees. Undoubtedly, this is a highly desirable outcome that will help a business to succeed in the long run.

[*See article written for Entrepreneur by Catherine Clifford, a senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC -]

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