Using Non-Monetary Rewards to Retain Top Talent Part 1

As a recruiter for almost thirty years, I have interviewed and spoken with thousands of candidates.  More often than not, compensation isn't the reason we are able to get them interested in a new opportunity. Most of the time compensation is a secondary concern. In fact, both myself and my partner, Barry Deutsch, have a long standing policy that if compensation is the issue, we will not work with them.

With our candidates, their primary concern is focused on non-monetary issues. Most of the time it evolves around their boss or the company. This is not to say compensation isn't important to them, but it isn't the primary motivator to listen to a recruiter.

The reverse is also true. When potential candidates decide not to listen to a potential opportunity, it usually isn't because they feel they are overpaid and that no other company will pay them as much. Rather it is generally that they have a great relationship with their boss and love working at the company.

After listening to so many potential candidates turn us down because they were so happy working where they are, we have come up with 7 things  these companies consistently do to create a culture that retains their talent. You don't have to do all of these, but if you aren't doing any of them you might want to reconsider.

1) Verbal Praise – These companies give what we call, “Standing Ovations” for outstanding performance. They take the time to recognize when someone goes above and beyond the call of duty. They also give praise  or even a simple thanks when someone does a good job. This is sincere praise and thanks, not just given as a matter of fact.  The contrast is a culture in which the employee's performance  is viewed as, “just doing their job” or “isn't that what we pay them to do.”

2) Achievement Awards – Another form of praise. These achievement awards are earned. It is not about sooner or later everyone will get one, so everybody feels good. That loses all of their meaning and significance. These awards take different forms in different companies. Some examples include a reserved parking space, employee of the month, a trophy prominently displayed in the person's office, certificates, mention in the company newsletter, a pin handed out by the CEO, lunch with the CEO and executive team, take a break and cake on Friday afternoon, etc.  The important point is that the employees appreciate the recognition and don't take it for granted.

3)  Learning and Development – Top performers want to continue to learn and develop their skills. Does your company encourage on-going learning for your employees? This might include giving them some time off to attend classes, bringing a topic expert in to speak to a group, allowing them to attend a workshop, have an on-line training program they can complete, or encouraging involvement in professional association and trade associations. These types of programs generally don't take a lot of time or can be performed outside of working hours and the ROI to the company can be huge.

4) Fun and Recreational Events – My daughter works for a private university. They recognize that they don't pay at the industry level. They overcome this in many ways, but one way is that either her department or the administrative team will do some fun thing that takes an hour or two. Some examples include, a putting contest in the office, a picnic at the park for lunch,one time her department took off an hour early to go see the filming of the Tonight Show, they went bowling during lunch time, they will take a few minutes late in the day and play a game of charades or Pictionary, etc. These are just fun things that make it a great place to work. To the workers this is worth making a few dollars less because they enjoy the people and their efforts are recognized.

Part 2 will cover the final three non-monetary rewards you can do to retain your best talent.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You’re NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE  Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard

3 Guarantees To Recruiter-Proof Your Best Talent

As recruiters for more than 30 years, my partner Barry Deutsch and I have intuitively known why every now and then a potential candidate we try to recruit says to us, “Thanks for the call, but I really like my position.”  Until last year though, we have never actually validated those reasons. Last year I decided to start keeping a list of the reasons these candidates indicate they are so happy. Usually, we just say, “OK” and make another call. Last year I probed a little further. I started asking , “Why” or “What makes your position so enjoyable that you won't consider something else?”

You will have to read to bottom of the article to find out  the most interesting and yet obvious aspect of the informal survey.

First some background. Since most of our executive search practice tends to be at relatively senior levels, most of the comments are not from entry level or manager level people. Although having recruited at these levels for many years, I believe the same reasons apply at all levels, including labor, hourly and administration, or non-exempt as well as exempt employees.

I have prioritized these as best I can, however, I doubt that there is that much difference between the rankings, with the first one as the exception. I also firmly believe that the happiest, and therefore the candidates virtually impossible to recruit away, have all three of these in their position.

1) A boss they can respect is far and away the biggest reason for a potential candidate turning down our recruitment efforts. They never use the word respect, that is our word. Respecting their boss is not the same as liking their boss. I'm not suggesting they don't like their boss, just that you shouldn't interchange the two. Although the majority do have some sort of personal relationship with their boss, many tell us their boss is hard to work with, demanding, too direct or blunt, not a people person, and other words similar to these. So what is respect? It means that their boss takes an interest in them and their career. It is more than just approving of their work. Their boss ensures that they are continually challenged (see Success Factors below), they often referred to their boss as a mentor,  they are growing and becoming better, their job doesn't fit easily into a predetermined job description, they know each other on a personal level, and their boss actually seems to care about them and their career succeeding to put it simply. They are not taken for granted. Their position isn't one of we are doing you a favor letting you work here. Rather both receive value from the relationship.

Their fear in leaving is that they know that few bosses are this way and they don't want to risk leaving a good to great boss. They are not just there to do a job, they are a person that wants to feel good about their job when they get up everyday to go to work and their boss contributes to this.

Do the people you manage feel this way about you or the managers in your company?

2) The candidates are learning and growing. They see positive change in themselves and their careers as they look back on each year. This is why Success Factors are so important. This is the tool by which they measure their growth. A Success Factor includes time based  measurable goals, often stretch goals for the person to achieve. Top talent and your best people like challenges and want to be stretched. It gives them a sense of fulfillment when they achieve the goals coupled with a sense of purpose. Achieving the Success Factors is often the excitement that gets them up each morning and coming to work. It also demonstrates their boss's interest in them. Success Factors send a clear signal that as their boss your role is to help them improve and find purpose in their job. This isn't just a job where you come to work to do the same routine duties and tasks everyday and then go home. Average to below average talent want this. Top talent will grow and become something better by working for this boss.

Do your people have measurable Success Factors? Every position in an organization from the CEO to the janitor should have measurable Success Factors.

3) They are making an impact. This doesn't have to be a significant life changing impact. Any impact is better than just doing a job. We believe it is this impact that makes them really enjoy their job. Everything else contributes to the enjoyment of their job, but feeling like one is positively impacting the business makes an employee feel like they are part of the team. It gives them purpose in the job. They are now directly linked to the company's success and  its profits. They take great  pride in this. They know that regardless of how small a role they played, they did play a role. When the CEO stands up and thanks the employees for the successful year, they feel the CEO is personally thanking them.

Are your people impacting your organization? Do they feel a sense of purpose that their job is important and contributes to the success of the organization?

Here is the most interesting and yet obvious thing that came out of this informal survey. We validated why certain employees enjoy their job and even a recruiter can't pull them out. Inadvertently, we also validated that these same reasons apply as to why someone  wants to leave an organization. When these things aren't present, the employee is likely to start looking for something better. A position that includes all three rarely has turnover.

You can take an easy assessment of your hiring process with our free Hiring Methodology 8-Point Scorecard. Find the strengths and weaknesses of your hiring process. CLICK HERE to download.

If you struggle with finding people, you can download the chapter from our best-selling book “You're NOT The Person I Hired” on sourcing top talent. It is free and one of our most downloaded items. Simply CLICK HERE to get your free chapter.

I welcome your thoughts and comments. If you liked this article please pass it along to others and post it on LinkedIn or Facebook.

Brad Remillard

In search of benefits . . .

You have to wonder what the insurance companies were thinking. Many, maybe most, small businesses are struggling with cash flow issues; and we all know that. One might expect the insurance executives to be sending out the word to agents and brokers that in light of the “predatory government regulatory atmosphere,” there shall be no premium increases for small business clients. Apparently that hasn’t happened. Instead, monumental premium increases are hitting small businesses.

One small business owner I know, a staunch conservative and very pro business, was adamantly against ANY government intervention in health care. The only thing she felt was useful was to have government remove the interstate barriers to competition among insurance companies. Then the bill came to renew the insurance benefits for her employees. The increase was 32%. She is now all for some kind of intervention, not just more competition; maybe not too much public option, but something to help drive down costs. Many small businesses are finding that they cannot afford to be in the insurance benefit program.

On the other hand, you might think that in light of the administration's goals of putting in place more regulations and also initiating a “public option” for insurance, that they would try and keep any perceptions about government interference with health care out of the headlines. Again, the word hasn’t gotten to the committees making recommendations on women’s health. And so we get the news that one of the more effective programs for breast cancer screening is to be deemphasized. The public, helped by the media, interprets this new recommendation as proving that indeed big government wants to get between you and your doctor.

In similar fashion to the business woman above, another woman with whom I have had conversations around the health care issues was pretty much convinced that a public option was the only sensible way to contain health care costs. Otherwise, the insurance companies will continue to reap huge profits at the expense of policy holders. And, she claimed, the government isn’t really who we need to worry about. It’s the insurance companies who hang us out to dry with fine print and denial of coverage due to trumped up pre-existing condition claims. Needless to say, she’s having second thoughts now based on the mammogram flap.

So neither side on this argument seems to be paying attention to the public sentiment or the “customer's issues.” Arrogance is a word that comes to mind.

The major reason that companies are in the benefit business is to have something other than salary on which to compete for good employees. With the increasing cost of drugs, medical insurance and other mandated insurance such as worker’s compensation now going through the ceiling, it may be time to look for some other kind of benefits with which to attract employees. I know this is heresy, and I’m sure I’ll get a bunch of “hate mail,” but I’m thinking it’s time to hope that the government does take the health insurance monkey off the backs of our businesses and we can go find other benefits to supply our employees. It’s a chance to maybe level the field again – if costs are really reduced for employees.

The “big boys” will be able to afford the usual benefits for employees. If small businesses can’t, then they won’t be able to attract top notch employees; unless they can offer something else. One idea has surfaced in a new book called the Dream Manager. I’m sure we could come up with other ideas, including paying higher salaries so our employees can take care of their own insurance (if effective, low cost insurance becomes available). Wellness programs are much needed. The trick will be to greatly reduce the amounts spent on employee health insurance by business and use the savings to fund other innovative benefits.

How about you? What will you do about employee benefits? Are your health insurance premiums sky-rocketing? Will you have to cut back on benefits this year? Do you have other benefits, or plans for new benefits?

Each company offers its own benefits to employees, but there is one thing in common, as all the companies should work in accordance with Labour Laws. If you want to be covered under your state and federal compliance laws, click here to check out labor law poster.

Download a Cost Of Hire Calculator to help you know the true cost. CLICK HERE to get it.

About the author

Dave Kinnear is a sought after Business Advisor and Mentor. He works with highly successful executives through one-to-one mentoring and coaching meetings. Individuals who are presently running successful businesses and executives in transition work with Dave to ensure meeting corporate and/or career goals. Through his affiliation with Vistage International, Dave convenes and facilitates Advisory Boards comprising of Business Owners, Company Presidents and Chief Executives dedicated to becoming better leaders who make better decisions and achieve better results.