If you’re an employer, how do you attract talented job seekers–let alone encourage the employees you have to stay, especially among the “Great Resignation”? While many companies think this is only achieved by offering high salaries,  endless PTO and senior job titles (and yes, that may work), it’s not always the case.

Here are four ways to attract talent, increase productivity and keep employees satisfied, without burning through big bucks.

1. Show appreciation.

It sounds so simple, but recognizing and rewarding employees for great work can have a major impact on how employees feel about your company. In a survey of over 500 companies, employees who received recognition were much more likely to rate their workplace as fun. What’s more, the majority of respondents interviewed said that personal recognition would encourage them to deliver higher performance results. Behavior reaffirming compliments such as, “great job for helping us meet that deadline,” can go a LONG way in motivating and improving employees’ perceptions of your company.

2. Offer creative outlets.

According to a New York Times article, employees who reported high levels of job satisfaction also reported having regular time for creative and strategic thinking. Coincidence? We think not. All employees — no matter their job, title or rank — want to feel engaged and flex their creative side from time-to-time. So provide opportunities for creative and strategic thinking. This could involve doing regular team brainstorm sessions, asking each employee to submit a few ideas to help meet company goals or sending them to industry conferences to hear from market thought leaders. Whatever it is, make sure you’re tapping employees’ minds, engaging them in the bigger picture and showing you value their thoughts and opinions.

3. Encourage work/life balance.

Companies that can offer flexible hours—outside the typical 8-5 Monday-Friday time frame—or give folks the option to work from home, experience several high-impact and cost-cutting advantages compared to companies that don’t. Among them?

  • Increased productivity. When Unilever New Zealand announced it would be trialing a 4-day/32 hour work week (for the same 5-day compensation), it was met with a lot of skepticism. But in the end, the company found it was  getting greater output and more workplace efficiencies, so it stuck with the model and many organizations followed suit with similar results. A study that researched more than 50,000 workers worldwide from the Corporate Executive Board also found that employees who believe they have job flexibility work 21 percent harder.
  • Lowered medical costs and absenteeism. Yes, stress (and subsequent illness) that resort in unscheduled PTO costs companies anywhere between $2,600-$3,600 per worker per year, according to Circadian, a workforce solution company. Those costs can quickly snowball. Think about it: if you have a 100 employees, you could be losing more than $260,000 a year.
  • Improved company image. Employees that have more flexibility, are more likely to take fewer sick days and experience higher levels of satisfaction. They’re also more likely to say positive things about your organization outside of the office, and that, my friend, is priceless.

4. Get behind charitable and social causes.

Employees aren’t just looking to make money, they’re interested in working with a company that makes a difference, too. In fact, more than two-thirds of Millennials (age 18-34) and 60 percent of Gen X-ers (age 35-44) prefer to work for companies that give to charity.

Getting employees behind charitable causes—whether it’s volunteering or determining which nonprofits the company donates to—also has a powerful impact on employee morale/job satisfaction. For instance, FirstBank offers all employees paid days off to volunteer with nonprofits they’re passionate about, and we also donate a sizable percentage of our profits to hundreds of charitable causes each year– many of which are hand-selected by staff. As a result, one-third of our workforce has been with FirstBank for 10 years or more, and we’ve been lucky enough to be recognized as a top workplace for eleven years in a row.

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