6 Lasting Ways Your Business Can Start Giving Back To Its Employees
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Attracting and retaining key employees is essential to the success of an organization. When employees are working for organizations that give back, their sense of pride, trust and commitment strengthens.  When employees feel valued and appreciated their dedication is enhanced with a wonderful influx of motivation which contributes to the vitality of the organization.

Here are 6 ways that businesses can invest in good employees.

1. Helping employees earn graduate degrees and MBAs

Olivet Nazarene University in Chicago offers a program where they will come to your office to fulfill certain program requirements onsite.  “Our model is to offer our programs in a variety of settings that essentially take Olivet to the student. We partner with over 20 hospitals and numerous school districts to offer our nursing and education programs onsite at those locations. In addition to our offices in Bourbonnais, Oak Brook, and Rolling Meadows, we have classes running over 100 different locations in Chicagoland and throughout Illinois.”

2. Wellness programs

Employees that participate in wellness programs are absent less often and perform better at work than those who don’t.  Aim to make low or no-cost a priority and convenience matters if you want to maximize participation.  Healthy employees stay with a company longer.  A study by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health shows that organizations with highly effective wellness programs report significantly lower voluntary attrition. You can offer gym memberships, nutrition programs and even more integrated programs.  A healthy employee is a happy employee.  It’s a great way to show them that their health matters to you as much as their contributions.

3. Stock Options

Offering employees stock options is another great incentive and it ties them to the success of the organization.  The employee wants the stock price to be high so he will presumably work to make that happen.  It shows the employees you are investing in them and believe in their contributions enough to have them participate in the profits.

4. Personal Development

A happy employee will infuse the environment with positive energy.  Employees that have bad attitudes can spread toxic energy like wild fire and are more harmful to an organization than some managers realize.   Having weekly or monthly personal development meetings can do wonders for the employee’s overall sense of well being and this will contribute to a vigorous organization.   It can be achieve through keynote speeches, seminars, workshops or online presentations.  It will have a lasting impact on the workplace and the employees are taking less time off work as they learn tools for self care, achieving work life balance, reducing stress and other important factors for living a happy, healthy life.

5. Professional Development

Toastmasters International is a well known non profit organization dedicated to the development of individuals seeking leadership, communication and public speaking skills.  This is another great way to build a strong company by investing in employee’s confidence.   Your organization has very little to do other than offer space once a week to facilitate it.  Contact Toastmasters International or a Toastmasters club in your area to find how you can start a lunch hour group on site or nearby.  When you encourage and support your employees to advance themselves professionally you are building confident skilled leaders who can effectively present ideas in a clear concise manner with a greater capacity to make a difference in your company.

6. Reward Programs

Reward programs can be offered by a company in an effort to create and sustain a happy work environment, retain top talent, and attract new talent.  Gift cards, spa retreats, dinner out with a spouse and similar perks can be used to reward, years of service, quarterly objectives and employee recognition programs.  When you offer employees opportunities to achieve targets you also get the opportunity to publicly recognize them.   This is extremely beneficial in building a strong work environment because it shows you appreciate their contributions and recognize their work.

About the author: Carrie Wynne is the author of 10 Ways to be Deliriously Happy – How to Live an Inspired Life.  She conducts personal development workshops based on the principles in her book showing others how to connect to the power within themselves and develop mental strategies to create an incredible life.  As a professional sales consultant she also offers training, coaching, and sales seminars.  Connect with Carrie on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.