Creative Retention Strategies: 4 (Non-monetary) Ways to Make ‘em Stay

When it comes to employee turnover, it’s not about the money. At least, most of the time.

Most employees won’t leave an employer they love just because someone else pays a little bit more. It’s hard to leave a boss who shows appreciation six ways to Sunday—who makes the average workday gratifying and fun.  

If you’re looking for ways to improve your retention rates—and believe us, you’re not alone—it’s time to think beyond wages and salary ranges.

Let’s brainstorm some non-monetary ways you can enhance your people’s work lives. The possibilities are endless. But here are some good ways to start.


Breathe More Life into Work-Life Balance 

According to a McKinsey & Co. study of the post-pandemic employee mindset, the thing Americans want most from their jobs is a better work-life balance. Gone are the days of competing to work the most hours. Today, workers seek employers that respect their personal lives and prioritize their well-being.

So, how can employers demonstrate this? By offering remote and hybrid work options when feasible. By allowing flexible scheduling that gives employees more control over their own work hours—a plus for parents, pet owners and, well, everyone.

By encouraging employees to take their earned PTO—all of it. And by insisting that everyone go home on time. In fact, how about establishing an after-hours email ban, so employees know that their evenings are completely their own?

Such initiatives won’t cost a cent, but can make a big impact. Ensuring that employees get rest and relaxation helps prevent burnout, resentment and frustration. Not only are balanced employees more productive, they’re also more likely to stay.

Celebrate Your Employees to the Moon and Back     

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs—a widely-accepted psychological theory—humans don’t just like recognition, they need it, almost as much as food, shelter and love. Yet, employee recognition is something that many employers fail to take very seriously.

Don’t be one of those employers. Make sure you have a vibrant employee recognition program in place—one that richly applauds employees for their performance and contributions. Rewards, if you provide them, don’t need to be pricy, but they do need to be meaningful. Public recognition goes a long way, too.

In addition, consider celebrating employees’ birthdays and work anniversaries—a great way to show employees you value them. In fact, why not give each employee a paid day off on their work anniversary? It won’t break the bank, and it’s a thoughtful perk they’re unlikely to receive from another employer.


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Offer Access to Buzz-worthy Benefits 

Voluntary employee benefits are a wonderful thing. Most cost employers next to nothing, but offer real value to employees by leveraging the company’s buying power to give them access to services they want. Not surprisingly, since the pandemic, many employers have expanded their voluntary benefits portfolios.

Think beyond traditional benefits, like disability and long-term care insurance. Focus on less-conventional benefits that will get employees talking. Like pet insurance. Financial planning assistance. Identity theft protection. Even elder care.

These are benefits that show you care about your employees’ whole lives—not just their work lives—and will set you apart.  

Give ‘em a Leg up   

Employees are much more likely to stay with a company that offers upward mobility—and of course, employers benefit from that in-house expertise. For this reason, be generous in offering training and cross-training options, then give workers a chance to use those newly-acquired skills.

Make sure your managers regularly discuss career goals with their reports and help them chart a path forward. Enact a firm policy to always, always promote from within if at all possible.

Operate in multiple locations? Then offer your high-performers relocation opportunities and embrace new experiences. (We’ll smooth the relocation logistics—and that won’t cost much, either). By bringing a world of opportunities to your employees, they won’t need to look elsewhere to pursue their dreams

At the end of the day, a smart retention strategy doesn’t take a big budget—because leaving an employer is rarely just about money. It’s about appreciation. Opportunity. Job satisfaction. It’s about showing a little love.

Human Resources Today