How to Retain Employees – Even If They Strike It Rich!

If your top performers won the lottery, would they stay at your company? A recent Accountemps survey had some intriguing findings, related to this unusual retention question. Seventy-seven percent of people surveyed said they would continue to work, in some capacity, if they received a financial windfall. Just over a third of this group would stay in their current jobs, while 41 percent would look for a new type of employment.

But many people in Chicago may be wondering: What keeps someone working, even if they’re a Mega Millions winner?

“For many people, a job helps define who they are,” says Marilyn Bird, district president for Robert Half in Chicago. “Often, people continue to work when there’s no financial pressure to do so. They want to keep their minds active and maintain the feeling of achievement that comes with doing a job well.”

Now here’s the bigger question concerning retention: What’s the best way to position your company as an employer of choice — rather than the company employees leave as soon as they receive a giant check?

Bird offers these retention strategies to keep your key employees on board:

  • Maintain an open-door policy. Employees should feel comfortable voicing ideas and concerns. Unhappiness with their managers is a leading reason that people leave their jobs. Building strong relationships with your team should be a priority.
  • Promote from within. Your staff will grow discouraged if they feel advancement opportunities aren’t available. Meet with employees to review their career paths, and discuss how they can move up in the organization.
  • Provide competitive compensation. While money isn’t everything, it is important. Make sure employees’ salaries and benefits are at, or slightly above, the market rates. Consult industry resources such as the Robert Half 2015 Salary Guides to determine starting salaries for a variety of positions in Chicago.
  • Recognize outstanding work. Actions and achievements that warrant special acknowledgement should be rewarded promptly, whether it’s with a story in the company newsletter or a spot bonus. The recognition doesn’t need to be expensive. Saying “thank you” and praising individuals in front of their peers are powerful motivators.
  • Offer professional development opportunities. Training programs help people expand their skills and boost productivity. You’ll also gain greater versatility within your team.

Winning the lottery may be a long shot for someone on your staff. But retention strategies should still be a priority if you want to keep your best performers on board for the long term.