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Recruiting and retaining high-caliber employees can be expensive and time-consuming, but the alternative – continual employee turnover – can be pricey and can make it difficult to maintain smooth operations.

How can managers (and their companies) improve employee retention? In the current economic climate, many businesses can’t afford to pay top dollar bonuses or use money as a way to attract and reward excellence. So it is a good thing that money isn’t what today’s employees are really after.

Study after study shows that employees want fair and equitable pay for their work. But when it comes to employee recognition, there are many things that top the list above financial rewards.

Inexpensive Employee Recognition Ideas

1. Push the Public Recognition

In many jobs, employees crave feedback but rarely receive it. According to the Harvard Business Review, one surefire way to keep your employees excited and engaged in their work is simply to keep the lines of communication open and to regularly express your appreciation for their hard work.

Consider these options: Pay close attention to employee performance and employee triumphs in order to verbally recognize employee strengths on a formal and informal basis. Compose letters for employee files when you witness excellence, and send the employee a copy of the letter. Hold an awards ceremony in which you present awards for employee performance, and also allow employees to nominate each other for certain awards.

2. Give the Gift of Work-Life Balance

One thing that most employees value even more than money is time. Today’s employees crave flexibility to spend more time with their families and friends. Offering flexible work schedules, the ability to sometimes work from home, increased vacation time, and the like is a strong way to offer employee recognition. Your employees work hard, and they are even more likely to give it their all if they are able to maintain their work-life balance and thus avoid burnout.

Consider these options: The members of the team with the best performance at the end of the quarter each earn an extra vacation day. The employee of the month can work from home every Friday the next month. Employees with excellent performance reviews can select from a variety of choices that increase their flexibility.

3. Take a Brain Break

Simply acknowledging that your employees are human and need a break sometimes can go a long way. Make an example of break-taking yourself, and encourage your employees to pay attention to their own need to clear their heads in order to have a better work day.

Consider these options: Take a short walk to stretch your legs after any long meeting, and encourage your employees to do the same. Allow your employees to take breaks at their own pace, with such options as working out in the company gym, strolling down to the neighborhood coffee shop for a latte, or making a short personal phone call in the courtyard.

Investing In High Caliber Employees & Reducing Turnover

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