Every employer knows that the best way to attract and retain top talent is to ensure employee happiness. But employers may not realize that simply offering raises won't make the company's best workers stick around.
"Bonuses, company perks and paid days off aren't enough to keep employees happy," said Pete Pedone, president and founder of home audio/video system design firm Interactive Home. "Showing an employee how much the company appreciates, respects and values them on a personal level is much more gratifying."
Research has shown that employees with high job satisfaction are generally more productive, engaged and loyal to their companies. Hiring managers, HR experts and business leaders weighed in on the best ways to keep employees satisfied when salary isn't the driving factor. [10 Happiest (and Unhappiest) Cities for Workers]
"Our 2013 employee engagement survey found that the number one contributor to employee happiness is transparency. Money and promotions are important, but what people want to know is the truth about the state of the company. The cost of improving transparency is almost zero, but it requires an ongoing dialogue between management and staff." – B.J. Shannon, manager of customer happiness at TINYpulse
Encourage communication in common areas
"Businesses should take steps to create spaces where employees can easily communicate and share ideas. Casual conversations in the break room can become collaborative conversations. Make it inviting and effective, with nice furniture, tables, and snacks and beverages, if possible." – Tom Heisroth, senior vice president of Staples Advantage
Recognize and reward employees
"Achievement and recognition are high motivators for employees. If they take risks, reward them. Give them a coupon to go out for dinner, an extra day off, tickets to a show, etc. The small stuff adds up." –Charley Polachi, managing partner of Polachi Access Executive Search
Offer benefits beyond the basics
"There are many ways to supplement salary by assisting employees in other areas of their lives. You can offer an extra level of life insurance above the traditional 50K, or disability insurance for employees to protect their incomes. Other ancillary benefits, such as dental, optical [and] wellness, are all well received by employees. And gym memberships and transit benefits are great perks to keep employees happy and healthy. It is important to [provide] higher benefits so your employees know that you truly care about them and their families." – Bobby Hotaling, president and CEO of The Hotaling Group
Cut back on emails and meetings
"Many employees feel that a flooded inbox and a constant string of meetings waste time and hinder productivity. Replace some of those emails and meetings with technology that helps them save time and collaborate more efficiently." – Sydney Sloan, director of customer and social marketing at Jive
Make employees part of the big picture
"The best benefit you can provide to your employees is the opportunity to make a difference through their work and help guide the course of the company. Benefits such as clear and frequent communication on company happenings, individual and department direction, and big-picture company direction, make all the difference in employee happiness." – Anthony Smith, CEO and founder of Insightly
Keep in touch
"A one-on-one conversation with an employee or group dinner goes a long way. Whether it be a private conversation at the start of the day, taking them out to lunch, or even a beer after work helps keep that bond. Once you stop 'showing the love,' you begin to lose employees. A small company has to go the extra step." – Pete Pedone
Ask employees for their input
"Companies should consider surveying their own workforce to gauge their satisfaction levels. Insights from employees themselves can point employers in the right direction for shaping a more a positive and creative work environment, and for developing more formal career development programs. By partnering with employees to improve their satisfaction levels, employers will reap business benefits today and tomorrow." – Sandy Mazur, president of Spherion
Originally published on Business News Daily.