How (and why) to Motivate and Retain Your Employees

September 14th, 2012

Does this sound familiar?  At a recent family gathering, several people are “discussing” their dissatisfaction with their current jobs when one of the family elders shakes his head in disbelief and asks “Do they pay you?  After a moment of pause, the younger family member answers inevitably “Yes” (the elder  would cut them off before they could add “but” or any additional information), he would say “Then stop complaining.”

For an older generation, work was simply about pay. You went, you did it, you got paid. It didn’t matter much if you liked it or not, just that you were able to pay your bills.

Times have changed. Two working generations later, employees want more out of their jobs. Sure, they want to get paid, but they also want to feel good about what they do, enjoy spending time on the job, and feel like what they do matters.

So how can you keep your employees motivated?

Research has shown that most employees want relevant benefits, good working conditions, supportive relationships with management and co-workers, and recognition for their achievements.


Try adjusting your existing benefits program to meet the needs of all three generations of employees. Younger workers might be interested in a cheaper, less comprehensive health coverage option, while older employees, or those with dependent children, might pay for a more comprehensive plan. Gen X workers with kids will appreciate childcare help, while Boomers want retirement options, and Millennials like paid time off.

Good Working Conditions

Their working environment is a big influence on how employees feel about where they work. And this is strictly cosmetic:

Does your office look nice? Are there pictures on the walls? Plants? Fresh paint? Clean floors? Do work spaces have enough room? Are desks the right size, and are the chairs comfortable? Do they have access to the office supplies they need? You’d be surprised at what a difference it can make to people when they feel physically and mentally comfortable in the workplace.

Supportive Relationships with Management and Co-workers

The best thing a manager can do is get to know his or her employees, so you’ll know what kinds of support they’ll need and appreciate: for example, flexibility regarding their children’s activities or a desire to volunteer.  You’ll also want to create ways for employees to feel like part of the group. Something as simple as having a picture taken of the entire staff or team and hanging it in a visible spot can remind them that they are part of a group.

Scheduled off-site events enhance bonding, which in turn helps team spirit and builds relationships. Holiday parties or picnics, starting a softball team or organizing outings to play mini-golf or see a movie can all enhance camaraderie.


You need to show your employees that you’ve noticed their accomplishments. You can simply give them private or public praise. Or put their names on a plaque. You can be creative, offering everything from a variety of gift cards to paid time off, or you can be professional, offering one-on-one coaching and a personalized plan for career development. The key is to show the employees that you’ve noticed their work and that you want to reward them for it.

Why is this important for you and your company?

For the most part, a company’s level of success is closely tied to the quality of its employees.  By following some of these suggestions, you increase your chances of retaining your most valuable asset, your employees.

Synerfac knows what employees are looking for! If you’d like more advice on how to retain your employees, we’d be happy to help. Contact us anytime.

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