3 key ways to keep employees happy

Many supervisors are left scratching their heads when some of their best subordinates defect to other companies.

Keeping employees engaged and loyal isn't rocket science, but many employers fail to recognize their shortcomings when it comes to retention -- or lack thereof.

In order to keep employees motivated, they should heed the valuable tips below. The more of them they put into practice, the greater the chances of keeping their employees happy, which usually translates into longevity.

1. Provide a fair compensation and benefits package. You don't necessarily have to offer the highest salaries and best benefits in your respective industry, but employees know a cheap employer when they see one. If your starting salaries and benefits are not even remotely on par with those offered by your competitors, where do you think your talent will eventually end up?

2. Show appreciation for employees' hard work. My employer recently acknowledged my five year anniversary with the company by giving me a plaque and cutting a cake in the office. Little gestures like this help employees feel valued. It wouldn't hurt to give them salary increases, free lunches, and other perks every so often either. The more valued he feels, the less likely he is to bolt.

3. Give employees projects of increasing complexity that allow them to utilize their skills. There's nothing that kills morale quite like a job that prevents an employee from using their best skills. From micromanaging to giving them only menial tasks, employees who feel their creativity is being stultified and their ideas are falling on deaf ears will become convinced there's no reason to work hard anymore. It's at that point they'll resign themselves to going through the motions -- in rote fashion -- until they can find a better job.

In other words, it's imperative to keep employees challenged by farming out projects to them that are commensurate with their skills and experience. Perhaps it means a promotion or reshuffling of duties is in order.

If employees want to have any shot at keeping their best talent, they'll have to employ at least a couple of these strategies.
Otherwise, they will continue see employees leave for opportunities that better reward and challenge them.

Even if an employer follows all these steps, they still might see a couple of people leave. After all, staying in the same job for 30 years is largely a thing of the past. Still, they make it a lot more attractive for them to stay, hopefully for the long haul.

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