6 Ways to Retain Employees without Money

Employees shaking hands

Pizza for lunch doesn’t cut it anymore—in today’s job market, hiring managers must re-learn how to retain employees in order to maintain a competitive advantage in the wake of the Great Resignation

According to a 2021 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual turnover rate is 57 percent across all industries. Those departures have a cost, even in the gig economy: it takes time and money to hire, onboard, and train new employees. A loss of experience on your team can mean operating at a reduced capacity while new employees come up to speed, often with higher error rates at the onset. 

Your hardworking, ambitious temporary and warehouse staff members can (and will) quickly leave you for a better opportunity unless your company can provide them with good reasons not to. Money isn’t the only tool at your disposal. When rethinking how to retain employees, consider these themes & employee retention quotes

1. Offer flexible work arrangements

In-person work has the potential for just as much room for flexible work arrangements as virtual work does. Alternatives to standard 9-to-5 shifts and five-day work schedules make space for employees to have true work-life balance: 4-to-12 shifts might be perfect for a part-time student, and 4 day / 10 hour schedules allow families to take care of errands and plan for quality time. 

“It’s about giving our associates the opportunity to be who they are as an individual, whether that is a community member, a spouse or parent, or anything in between.”  –  Amy Freshman, Senior Director of Global Workforce Enablement at ADP

2. Offer wellness days

Whether or not your company offers paid sick or vacation time, one or two no-questions-asked “wellness days” per quarter can offer employees much-needed additional relief and flexibility to take care of themselves. This is different from a sick day or mental health day: encourage your people to take advantage of any healthy, rewarding activity and come back to the job refreshed. 

“We are embedding health and well-being at the heart of our business strategy because our people are our greatest asset, and we recognize that a healthy, happy and committed workforce is vital to our business success.”  –  Alex Gourlay, former Managing Director, Boots UK

3. Communicate consistently & efficiently

Being respectful of your employee’s needs & time is the key to getting them to stay with your team. Tell them everything they need to know, but avoid bombarding them: try implementing a weekly newsletter, email check-in, or Slack message that rounds up all noteworthy announcements & company news. This works particularly well if a supervisor is regularly engaging with them in person and following up on related outstanding questions as they arise.

“The purpose of internal communication isn’t telling people what to do, it’s to create a shared understanding and meaning. Only then can employees align themselves to a company’s purpose.”  –  Rachel Miller, Communications Consultant, All Things IC

4. Communicate rewards & incentives

Does your company offer gifts for performance achievements? How about tuition reimbursements? Donation matching, or paid time off for volunteering? Providing upfront, all-in-the-same-place information about employee perks & how to take advantage of them gives your team a clear pathway to giving 110%, should they have the capacity to do so. 

“People work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise, and rewards.”  –  Dale Carnegie, Author, How to Win Friends and Influence People 

5. Buy lunch

Yeah, we know we said no pizza: it’s not the most nutritious meal and it comes across as lazy. But don’t be mistaken: everyone has to eat, and buying lunch for your employees is still a thoughtful move. When ordering, ask yourself, “Would I be excited to show up and find this lunch?” As a rule, always be mindful to ask your team about dietary preferences and restrictions ahead of time.

“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” – Luciano Pavarotti, Italian Operatic Tenor

6. Treat them like the humans they are

Figuring out how to retain employees can sometimes be as simple as remembering that they are people, too. Let them know when they’re doing a great job, personally and often. Encourage shout-outs during all-hands meetings, and make it a point to celebrate work anniversaries (it’s good practice to ask permission before publicly announcing birthdays!) When delivering tough feedback, do it kindly and consider a private setting.

“In good organizations, leaders are treated with a sense of appreciation and respect by employees; in great organizations, employees are treated with the same esteem by leaders.”  –  Kevin E. Phillips, Author, Employee Leaps

Did any of these quotes about employee retention resonate with you? Given these intentional strategies, adaptable managers can easily avoid high turnover when learning how to retain employees without money. 

Looking to boost your applicant pool? Do you need more employees? Working with Jobble can help you optimize how to staff your warehouse during your next hiring event.

Ready to become a staffing expert?

About the Author: Meghna Jaradi is a freelance writer and events manager with experience working for the Seattle Times, Kitchen Arts & Letters, Book Larder, Peddler Brewing Company, and more. You can contact her on LinkedIn.

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