Celebrating wins

As someone who has managed people for over 25 years and run the HR Consulting firm wattsnext for the past 10, I see firsthand the importance of retaining employees. One of the best ways to achieve this is through effective reward and recognition programs. In this blog post, I will share with you the top 5 modern and cost-effective reward and recognition ideas that can help you retain your most valuable assets, your employees! Right now, nothing is more important than retention and all business owners should be assessing their retention strategies:

Flexible Work Arrangements

In today’s fast-paced world, work-life balance has become increasingly important for employees. Offering flexible work arrangements can be an excellent way to retain your staff. This could include telecommuting, part-time work, or job sharing. According to Angela Priestley, the publisher and founding editor of Women’s Agenda, “Flexible work arrangements can make a real difference to employee satisfaction and loyalty.” Flexible work arrangements must be considered in Australia, business owners have a legal obligation to do so, but don’t wait to be asked, look to offer flexible conditions that will benefit all stakeholders.

Recognition Programs

Recognition programs can help to motivate and retain employees by providing them with tangible rewards for their hard work. These programs can be as simple as a thank you note or a shoutout at a team meeting, or more formal with rewards such as gift cards, certificates, or even additional paid time off. According to Rebecca Siciliano, the Executive Director of Slade Group, “Recognition programs can go a long way in improving employee engagement and productivity.” Humans have an innate need to be seen and appreciated, whether privately or publicly. It is not expensive, and all good leaders should learn the art of timing simple recognition to maximise impact. We have partnered with one of our great clients and friends from Edible Blooms to give away an incredible prize to the best recognition suggestions, see the bottom of the eNews for details and start recognising your great performers today!

Professional Development Opportunities

Providing your employees with professional development opportunities is another great way to retain your staff. This could include training programs, conferences, workshops, or even mentoring programs. Not only do these opportunities help to develop employee skills, but they also show employees that you are invested in their growth and development. According to Nick Deligiannis, the Managing Director of Hays in Australia, “Professional development opportunities can be a powerful way to show employees that they are valued and to improve employee retention.”. Customising professional development to align with employees interests and passions also shows that you understand and appreciate them!

Wellness Programs

Wellness programs are becoming increasingly popular in the workplace, and for good reason. These programs can help to reduce stress, improve physical health, and boost employee morale. Wellness programs can range from gym memberships and fitness challenges to mental health support programs and meditation sessions. According to Kathryn Butt, the Executive General Manager of HR at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, “Investing in wellness programs can help to improve employee engagement and retention.” Something we have integrated into our business wattsnext is mental health first aid, that up-skills our consultants and encourages them to self-reflect and care for themselves.

Employee Feedback and Surveys

Finally, employee feedback and surveys can be a valuable tool in retaining your staff. By seeking feedback from your employees, you can better understand their needs, concerns, and aspirations. This can help you to make informed decisions about policies and programs that will improve employee satisfaction and retention. According to Jason Walker, the Managing Director of Hays in New Zealand, “Regular employee feedback and surveys can help to create a culture of continuous improvement and drive employee engagement and retention.” We swear by regular 1:1 meetings at wattsnext and encourage our clients to do at least one anonymous survey per year to allow employees to be heard, benchmark the results and identify any management blind spots! Anonymous surveys done well, identify the lead indicators of staff turn-over and highlight where business owners should focus energy and resources.

Post the COVID era employee confidence has grown and in businesses that don’t have strong management practices and a deliberate retention strategy we are seeing high employee turnover. In conclusion, retaining employees is crucial for the success of any business and it doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Implementing effective reward and recognition programs can be a powerful way to achieve this. By offering flexible work arrangements, recognition programs, professional development opportunities, wellness programs, seeking employee feedback or by providing a simple chocolate treat, you can show your employees that you value and appreciate them, which will go a long way toward retaining them.

Angela Priestley, “How flexible working arrangements can improve staff retention,” Women’s Agenda, https://womensagenda.com.au/latest/how-flexible-working-arrangements-can-improve-staff-retention/

Rebecca Siciliano, “Why recognition programs are so important for employee engagement,” Slade Group, https://www.sladegroup.com.au/blog/why-recognition-programs-are-so-important-for-employee-engagement/

Nick Deligiannis, “Why professional development opportunities are so important for employee retention,” Hays, https://www.hays.com.au/blog/-/media/hays-response/home/blog/why-professional-development-opportunities-are-so-important-for-employee-retention.pdf



Author: Ben Watts
Ben is a veteran in the HR space- a forward-thinking leader specialising in functional business structures and people performance techniques. With twenty years’ experience managing large ASX listed corporates across multiple industries, Ben adds depth and expertise to our clients' strategy solutions, genuinely providing a commercial result for their investment.