Rethink incentives to retain your best (or recruit some more)

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  • Date posted

    Sep 14, 2021

The current employee retention crisis is real and its potential reach is impacting employers of all sizes and employees of every generation.


of employees feel less connected to their company or colleagues since the start of the pandemic.


Americans quit their jobs in April 2021.


of employees look for another opportunity when they don't feel valued at work

Incentives, rewards, and benefits have the power to make a difference. They can help you retain your best and brightest—or recruit more great employees to your team. But the standard benefits and rewards strategies won’t do. To make an impact on today’s workforce, you’ll need personalized, holistic options that strengthen engagement year-round. The best companies are completely rethinking employee benefits and rewards—offering things like student loan repayment, grocery delivery service discounts, access to postpartum return-to-work assistance, or support to caregivers looking after an aging parent.

Show them you care with rewards and benefits they love

Employees want to work for an organization that supports their work/life balance, mental health, and other personal wellbeing needs, and the employees in turn are likely to be more productive and resilient. In fact, employees who feel their employer provides the flexibility they need are 86% more productive and 57% more likely to be resilient.

Here are five strategies to stand out from the crowd

1. Ask your people what they want and how they feel.
According to a recent Forbes article, “74% of employers are offering more added-value services for employees or intend to.” But just throwing resources at a problem will only go so far. Use pulse surveys, virtual town hall meetings, and employee one-on-ones to understand what your people need up front, then create a wellbeing hub with resources that support those specific needs.


of employers are offering more added-value services for employees or intend to.

2. Create flexibility, understanding, and trust. And yes, that means no tattleware (we hate that we even need to call this one out!).
More employees working from home also saw some employers implementing spyware to keep tabs on productivity—software that takes a photo of an employee every ten minutes, for example, or pop-up warnings after five minutes of inactivity. This should be obvious, but we’ll say it anyway. If you don’t show your employees you trust them, they’re not likely to trust you—or stick around very long.

Employers who demand a full return to the office or expect to keep their thumb on remote workers with spyware or tattleware are in for a rude awakening. Flex scheduling is an incredibly popular phenomenon, with 90% of virtual and 77% of on-site workers that are offered the option taking advantage of it in some capacity.

Trust your employees, respect their privacy, and communicate what you’re doing to help them stay healthy.

3. Offer innovative rewards that fit their lifestyle—and that they are unlikely to find elsewhere.
Traditional rewards have their place, but give your people something they’ll use and appreciate day in, day out and they will see the connection between their wellbeing and your program. That’s why Navigate’s ecosystem of partners includes Fringe, which offers employees access to a marketplace of 100+ recognizable services they’ll love, such as Uber, Talkspace, Shipt, and more. It’s one way to give them a gift that gently reminds them how much support your benefits offer.

4. Create a connected culture, whether you’re online or in the office.
On average, lonely workers say that they think about quitting their job more than twice as often as non-lonely workers. It is possible to develop a great workplace culture online.

At Navigate, we have grown in size over the pandemic, with many employees starting remotely and not yet working in the office. But virtual happy hours, baby showers, wedding celebrations, book clubs, and monthly company-wide meetings, as well as an internal newsletter and wellbeing program of our own, have helped us maintain our company culture and support each other.

On average, lonely employees think about quitting their job more than twice as often as non-lonely workers.

5. Do the simple things—like welcoming new employees to the team.
Welcome boxes aren’t just for new clients. The same gestures you extend to new business can help incoming employees understand (and get excited about) your mission and values. Creating a fun box full of personality and company gear is an easy and effective way to show new employees that you’re excited they're part of the team and share your culture with employees who may be working from home or remotely.

Now is the time to focus on retaining and attracting top talent. Contact us for more strategies and insight on sparking engagement, connection, and motivation among your employees.

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