Six Top Tips For Retaining A Happy Workforce

Once you’ve recruited an employee and invested your time in getting them up to speed with how you run your business you need to keep them! Why? Because firstly, you don’t want to keep repeating the cost and time spent in recruiting them and secondly, having a well-trained and happy workforce means you can be confident that the standards you have set will remain high and therefore your customers will be happy.

When I ask owners of smaller businesses what benefits they offer their employees they tend to recite the statutory entitlements such as holidays, sick pay and maternity rights and then stick. Depending on the products and services offered some offer discounts to employees and even family members.

But what else can you do to reward your employees for their hard work and loyalty over the last few difficult years? You can add a benefit or two into your employee entitlements.

Here are my Six Top Tips For Retaining A Happy Workforce

  1. Health-Top-Up Insurance
    Commonly known as ‘Health-Top-Up’ or ‘Cash-Plan’ operated by companies such as Westfield Health are beginning to catch-on with UK companies with around 7% of employees covered on some form of cash-plan compared with around 90% of employees in Holland for example. For companies it comes in two ‘flavors’:
    • Corporate Voluntary: where the employer sets it up and the employees volunteer to ‘opt-in’ and pay for it
    • Corporate Paid: where the employer sets it up and pays for the employees
    For a low-cost-per-employee investment Health Top-Up Insurance offers excellent benefits including: Optical, Dental, NHS Car Parking, 2nd Opinions, 24/7 Medical and Stress Counseling Help Lines, GP Services, Hospital In-Patient Cash Benefit, New Baby & Physiotherapy.
  2. Bonus Schemes
    Introducing a bonus or incentive scheme through sales performance, attendance, level of training achieved etc is a good way of getting your employees involved in your business goals and rewarding them for their hard work and effort, which in turn is good for your profits too! They take a little effort to put together as you want to be sure you are rewarding the correct behaviour. Alternatively, if you have a good year you may decide to distribute an equal amount to everyone to thank them for their efforts. You decide, you plan and then you implement.
  3. Time Off In Lieu
    People often value time as much as pay so if you need your employees to give a little extra time one week let them take it back the following week. It can be used as a banking system when an employee wishes to build up some time so that they can have paid time off when they have run out of holiday entitlement. Many employers and employees find the use of TOIL to be mutually beneficial, and would willingly sign a contractual clause because of the flexibility it allows.
  4. Duvet Days
    We are all aware of the “uh uh I’m not feeling good day” call on a sunny Friday morning. Which is why personally I like Duvet Days, it doesn’t matter why you are not at work – you are simply not here – there’s no faking or lying from the employee and as the employer you don’t feel like you employee a team of five-year-olds. Like above – people value their time away from work!
  5. Time Off For Special Occasions
    Dates to consider are the employees’ birthday or the anniversary of their start date with you. You could also consider offering an extra week’s leave for employees who are getting married in that leave year. Basically, any fun date or dates that gets your employees talking about what a great place this is to work.
  6. Food
    This one comes with my personal recommendations as it worked an absolute treat when I was asked to take over the line management of a rather unhappy and disengaged team a few years ago. To boost morale, I did something pretty regularly but a monthly or quarterly treat would suffice in most teams. Here are some popular choices:-
    • Breakfast sandwiches – great to reward Saturday or Bank Holiday working
    • Pizza delivery – order a selection in to be delivered at lunch time or just before close of business before a bank holiday weekend
    • A selection of fresh fruit
    • A selection of chocolate bars or Easter Eggs
    • Pub lunch or tea – don’t get too carried away, I just bought the drinks
    • Ice cream – always well received during the middle of a particularly hot spell whatever day of the week

You may not be able to offer lots of benefits but by being generous where and when you can you will win people over and get them talking about how great it is to work for you.

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Six Top Tips For Retaining A Happy Workforce


Kathryn is a highly experienced HR Manager with a wealth of skills and knowledge acquired across a variety of industries including manufacturing, health and social care and financial services. She has worked in small localised business and larger multi sited organisations and is comfortable liaising with senior managers and union officials as well as answering queries from team members. Connect with Kathryn on:

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