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Home Day-to-day Issues Incentives What incentives do employees respond well to?

What incentives do employees respond well to?

The chronic skills shortage we're experiencing in this country is making it very difficult to retain one's staff because recruiters and other companies are hungrily preying on those who have those skills which are in such short supply. Company loyalty has become a thing of the past because of the tough economic times we find ourselves in and employees will go to the employer who pays the most. Is it possible to retain one's employees for a protracted period of time? If so, how much money would you have to throw at them to get them to stay?

It's not all about throwing money at people, says Malcolm Rabson: owner of Dariel Solutions. He's pondered – at length – the problem of how to retain staff members in his company and has come up with a number of solutions that have worked well.

People want to do work that means something to them

They've interpreted 'meaningful work', says Rabson, as work through which the employees will be able to grow and acquire more experience or new skills.

To make this a reality, it's necessary to have good leadership in your organisation. "By valuing people and building effective teams, we've realised that people need excellent leadership. If this leadership is absent, the chances of the employee seeing that their work is meaningful are very slim."

How do you develop leadership in your organisation?

Rabson says that they've found themselves in the situation where they've promoted individuals in their company to be team leaders but although they are very good at – coding, for example – they don't have the skills they need to lead a team.

To overcome this problem, they performed some market research to see what types of leadership courses there are available. They found a leadership course at the Gordon Institute of Business Science (Gibs) and have sent some of their staff members on this.

The company has given other staff members a coach to help them develop their leadership skills.

Don't try to 'panel beat' your employees

You can't make your employees fit into your company culture. When you recruit new candidates, you need to be sure that they will fit in with your company culture – you can't 'panel beat' them to make them fit into your organisation. In fact, says Rabson, making employees be someone that they're not can have extremely negative consequence: "We find that if you panel beat people to fit into a company culture, their attention becomes very low."

Give your employees clear personal development plans

When an individual joins a company, more than likely he or she will want to grow and develop in that organisation – and ultimately achieve a higher position than he has at the moment. So to keep that person, you've got to map out a plan according to which he can develop. If you don't set him a timeline according to how you've envisaged that he'll develop in the company, he'll form his own schedule of when he thinks that he should be progressing in the organisation. If you don't meet his mental deadlines, he'll walk – taking his sought-after skills with him.


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