When it comes to job satisfaction, financial rewards may be lower on the list than most people think. Being happy with your job seems to depend more on the intangibles: feeling part of a team and being valued and appreciated consistently outrank money when employees are polled about job satisfaction.

Bill’s Story

Take Bill, for example: a very competent project manager at a software development company. He was recruited a few months ago to his current company, and he is already thinking of looking elsewhere. “I get no feedback whatsoever from my manager,” he said. With no sense of how he fits into the company’s overall goals or how he’s performing, his motivation is down. “The hours are much better at this company,” he concedes, “But I’m not as engaged in the work – I just don’t care as much.”

Bill’s story is not unique, as many managers know. So here are some tips and strategies for retaining valuable employees.

Ten Steps to Success

Many of the following recommendations may sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many managers neglect to follow them.  They can allow you to achieve the Holy Grail of the work place: the ability to motivate your employees to move mountains!  (And they’ll be happy with their jobs while they do it.)

Step 1: Clearly define your vision. Make sure that your vision is provided as a roadmap for your employees, and that they know each twist and turn.

Step 2: Give employees what they want and need. Don’t just assume that each and every one of your employees has all the tools, training, and support from supervisors they need –check in with them personally and find out.

Step 3:  Communicate well and often. Training sessions, memos, newsletters, FAQs, and regular meetings can all be used to present your vision to your employees. Make sure to ask questions, and if they are confused, redesign the way the information reaches them.

Perhaps the most important part of a good manager’s job is communicating effectively. Creating a culture of communication in which managers and employees share common goals and work together to meet them can boost a company up and even save it from the gutter.

Goodman and Truss, in the Journal of Change Management (2004), stressed the importance of communication, especially in difficult times or during times of change. Timing is critical in letting employees know about upcoming changes, in order to reduce uncertainty.  You also need to be very clear about your purpose when you meet with them. Goodman and Truss recommend the following objectives:

  • Obtain individual buy-in
  • Obtain commitment to the change
  • Minimize resistance
  • Reduce personal anxiety
  • Ensure clarity of objectives
  • Share information/vision
  • Challenge the status quo
  • Obtain clarity
  • Minimize uncertainty

(Goodman, J., & Truss, C., (2004). The medium and the message: communicating effectively during a major change initiative. Journal of Change Management, 4, 217-228.)

Step 4:  Get everyone engaged. Figure out a way to get all of your employees engaged in planning and decision-making. That way the project becomes their baby: something they’re willing to fight for.

business everyone engaged

To do this, whenever possible, ask for input and use their ideas.  This way, they have a vested interest in seeing the project succeed.  This can not only empower and motivate employees, it can also lead to new and more productive ways of working that normally would be overlooked during more stable times.

Step 5: Coach for success, and practice random acts of kindness. Feedback is another great motivator. Don’t wait for the periodic reviews; instead, offer feedback as often as possible. Positive feedback should be given right away, to encourage more of the same performance. Negative feedback should also be given a.s.a.p. so that workers have the opportunity to self-correct. If you can, schedule weekly meetings with individual employees, to provide an opportunity to discuss ongoing projects and issues. These meetings don’t have to take a lot of time, and they can build strong working relationships.

And don’t forget to say “Thank you!” for a job well done.  It’s a powerful motivator and should be done often–in person if possible. Publicly acknowledging your employees’ contributions is even better. In a survey by McKinsey Quarterly in 2009, praise from immediate supervisors and attention from company leaders were found to be just as important or more important than financial rewards.

Step 6: Act fairly, respect, and create trust (don’t be a jerk). Use your judgment, wisdom, and experience to create a supportive environment.  When problems arise, examine the circumstances, understand the context, and only then pass judgment.  Respect and trust your team and you will get the same in return.  If you make a mistake, apologize and admit you were wrong.  This will allow your employees to relate to you better, and they will appreciate your honesty.

Step 7: Trust and verify, but also try to make work fun. Good bosses pay attention to the big picture and the details, and care about both the product and the employees. A good way to show that is be involved in the creation process, and to pay attention to what is going on.  And remember to do this with a smile on your face. Lighten up! Making work fun really pays off since people often get a lot more done when they enjoy themselves.

Step 8: Give special attention to high-potential employees. “Even in a tough economy, high-potential employees have other opportunities,” according to Douglas Klein, president of Sirota Survey Intelligence.  A study they conducted showed that during an economic crisis, employees who are anxious about their future can negatively affect a company. The reason is simple and obvious: they are less engaged in their jobs, and they may be making plans to leave.

To keep them engaged, consider putting more resources into career development and training.  Or perhaps you can give them new projects that will help the company adapt to the changing market, grow, and develop.

Step 9: Be creative to avoid downsizing. “An employer that treats its employees as true partners makes every effort to avoid layoffs,” according to Klein. The key is for employees to trust that management is doing everything possible to retain them. Voluntary steps to reduce costs, which Klein calls “rings of defense” can be employed to avert disaster.

This step may look like a shot in the dark, but you’d be surprised how reasonable people can be about pay cuts and/or working overtime, as part of a crisis strategy, built with their own accord as a safety net during challenging times. The magic of this approach relies on those few words: built with their own accord.

(Sirota Survey Intelligence survey summarized in “The Enthusiastic Employee: How Companies Profit by Giving Workers What They Want”, 2005)

Step 10: Implement incentive programs.

 performance improvement and money

No matter of what kind of business you are in, you should look into incentive programs. They have been shown to be highly beneficial in motivating employees, and a major benefit is that the cost can be based on actual performance and paid out only after an employee has reached the desired goal. “Do good and you’ll get rewarded” makes a positive impact on the company as a whole, with employees working harder to meet the target.

The following results were found in a study by the International Society of Performance Improvement, on the benefits of incentive programs:

They can improve performance significantly. The study found that performance could be increased by 22 percent in individuals, and 44% in teams.
They can improve employee engagement.  Performances improved by 15% when rewards were offered, and if employees were rewarded again to continue performing well, the improvement reached 27%.
They can attract high potential employees. And these high-quality employees are also more likely to stay when incentive programs are in place.

(Incentives, Motivation and Workplace Performance: Research & Best Practices, the International Society of Performance Improvement 2002

Job Retention Strategies

Job retention is a big problem for many companies, big and small. The Incentive Research Foundation (formerly known as the SITE Foundation), conducted a study on worker turnover in 2004, and another in the following year.

This study found some important results:

When work is held in high value by the employees, turnover is not a big issue. Recognition, praise, and special incentives are tools that can raise the value of work to employees.
Whenever a company supports its employees, turnover rates drop significantly.

If employees feel better about their jobs, they are less likely to leave. Even more importantly: they will try to be better at what they do.
By raising motivation levels, worker turnover can be reduced up to 53 percent.

(Steven J. Condly, Ph.D. and Robin DiPietro, Ph.D. “Motivation in the Hospitality Industry” 2005)

The results speak for themselves. Companies need to be pro-active to develop and retain the right people!  Investing in your staff translates into big benefits for your company, including financial gains that will only grow over time.

MATURE SERVICES: Helping Seniors Get Back to Work

Mature Services uses eSkill to assess the skill levels of mature job seekers before and after they participate in training programs. The objective test results guide their training plans, and the online assessments increase their clients’ comfort level with using computers.

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Adina Miron


  • Avatar Mickey Mixon says:

    Evidently, the risks of pre-employment screening which is not done thoroughly are not a new story for most of us. Along with other things, such careless and incomplete pre-employment screening opens a dodge which the wrong people can have access in the organization as employees.

  • Avatar Jambar Teambuilding says:

    Hi there, thank you for your article. I really enjoyed reading your article as is very informative and motivational. I hope your other readers will enjoy as much as I do. Thank you.

  • Avatar David Duncan says:

    Eric I just found your article. This is a great article and could be the underlying ethos of our system…good employee engagement and communication is undervalued but can change the efficiency and motivation of staff almost immediately. You will always get the doubting Thomas’s but either they will always be like that, they are in the wrong job or eventually even they will get swept along or leave.

  • Avatar Catrinaot says:

    Thank you ever so for you article.Thanks Again. Really Great.

  • Avatar Bailey Black says:

    I like reading blog.eskill.com and I conceive this website got some truly useful stuff on it!

  • Avatar ikema says:

    This is a very lovely article. I enjoy ready it, in fact I will apply what I learn here to motivate my worker at the next meeting board as well as study the information to pass my exams. Thanks a million.

  • Avatar Clarice Turner says:

    I found your article when I was looking for motivational ideas for a paper I was writing.
    What a great article it is Eric. I was able to incorporate your thoughts in a positive way
    so that my classmates will be able to read your article as well. Great Job!
    eskill reader,
    Clarice Turner

  • Avatar Vingapp.com says:

    I really enjoyed reading this! There was so much to take away and into any organization! Great blog! We too recently wrote on sweet ideas for employee engagement and I think that it would be something of your interest! You should check us out!

  • Avatar Taylorrimi says:

    I’ve been browsing on-line more than three hours lately, but I never discovered any interesting article like yours. It is beautiful value sufficient for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made just right content material as you probably did, the web shall be much more helpful than ever before.

  • Avatar Praveen says:

    nice article!

  • Avatar Liann Alfaro says:

    I enjoyed this article. I was able to see that there are some of the ideas I already incorporate with my team. Plus the blog was able to give me a few new ideas to work with. I really enjoyed the one about making sure that the employees have the resources they need and encourage personal growth. Thank you

  • Avatar Rohai says:

    I think the best way to motivate your employees and to keep them happy and content is communication. I’ve been in the marketing business for a year now. It’s a bit busy career but this never made me feel bored and unhappy because of how our employers make us feel. They talk to us normally; they give us feedbacks regularly on how we manage our work. They never made us feel inferior and stress because they communicate with us every day. And with that, employees can feel alive and part of the team. They want the salespeople and companies to communicate with each other privately. You might want to look at their site.

  • Avatar Audry Shematsi says:

    Great article. I am a profane on HR management but I find the article very simple to understand and moreover concise and precise. The only aspect I could recommend for improvement is more practical example.

  • Avatar Moona Liza says:

    Great advise, and I believe’engaged employees are happy employees’.

  • Avatar Madelene Kelly from Aruba says:

    Touchable, usefull information that sure reach every employee. Engaged employees will contribute effective and will be more efficient with worktime. They will stay connected if we inspire, motivate them and handle them the necessary, support tools they need and can use. And the care they need to help employees to share positive work-experiences was another coach for succes.

  • Avatar Lauren Deegan says:

    I think step 9 is very crucial to keep morales up at work, your employees don’t want to work out of fear of losing their jobs. They need a trusting and nurturing environment to provide the best performance at work. So as managers, we need to be creative when it comes to cut backs.

  • Avatar Site says:

    Doing good is good business. Companies that support philanthropic causes by involving employees and management in volunteer projects see a direct increase in engagement and productivity. Working together to help others demonstrates that the company isn’t just about making money, but about making a difference in the world.

  • Avatar Stacey Hays says:

    Thank you for your insight and useful information.

  • Avatar Manoj Kanwar says:

    Thanks a lot for providing great information.

  • Avatar Rachel says:

    This is very insightful. Thanks a lot.

  • Avatar Inspiring Leadership says:

    A good leader is play a very important role to engage employees in work and boost company success and sale. Thanks for sharing this informative post.

  • Avatar augustine uganda says:

    it was a great deal of information. keep it up

  • Avatar augustine uganda says:

    it was a great deal of details that are just good to go. wel done

  • Avatar Bryan says:

    Great insights and good information. I especially like step 7, and couldn’t agree more.

    In addition to your post I would like to mention this post: sleeknote.com/find-hire-retain-talent/

    It’s about how to find, hire and retain talented employees and it supports your post very well.

  • Avatar Amit Prasad says:

    Employee motivation is one of the major factor for improving productivity of the business. Above article is really informational and going to be useful for business managers to motivate their employees.

  • Avatar Amit Prasad says:

    Employees are the most valuable resource for any company. It directly affects your company performance and productivity. Thus, it’s really important to motivate your employees to improve the performance of your businesses that can also be useful for increasing ROI.
    To learn some of the best motivational methods, we reached out to managers and CEOs to learn what worked for them and their employees.

  • Avatar Nino Bautista says:

    I think the biggest, most meaningful initiative would be something that would enable employees to improve their chances of getting promoted or get the dream job they want. And when it comes to getting them from where they are to getting them to where they want to be, nothing beats a performance improvement program that includes self-learning and re-skilling.

    I think self-improvement and learning is one of the most powerful tools to improve office attrition. I’ve seen dramatic improvement in my people after I encouraged them to take online courses (like those we found in Career Academy, link: (Project Management, Business Skills, IT & CyberSec Online Certification Training)) so that they can gain skills needed to move up the career ladder. Their skills sets have improved (especially the use of technology in improving reports) and they have been more motivated to work knowing they are in a better position to get promoted. The more I motivate them to not just be good at their line of work but in getting skill sets that can be used to transition to another post that they like, the more productive they become as they realize that their careers are not stagnant.

    As long as they see that the company is giving them room to grow and is empowering them to take steps to achieve their dream jobs, employees will build loyalty with the company.

  • Avatar Sanjana Sharma says:

    Thank you for your insight and useful information.

    But further, I want to say that, if you want more and better then at least once get in touch with the motivational speaker which definitely impact your employee productivity.


    Hard work may be the key to success in life but motivation is something that retains the success. The world is in dire need of people who can make people squirm in their chairs by inspiring them to come out of their comfort zones and do what is required.

  • Avatar Sanjana Sharma says:

    Thank you for your insight and useful information.

    But further, I want to say that, if you want more and better then at least once get in touch with the motivational speaker which definitely impact your employee productivity.
    Hard work may be the key to success in life but motivation is something that retains the success. The world is in dire need of people who can make people squirm in their chairs by inspiring them to come out of their comfort zones and do what is required.

  • Avatar Art Savitt says:

    Would love to see an overall program of engagement and happiness monitoring to measure progress towards goals and end result maintenance. Interested parties should contact me to learn how we’ve implemented such programs for organizations.

  • Avatar Handond says:

    Thanks for your input. Do you know if there has been any employee backlash, as far as monitoring goes? Are companies using your service outside of sales? Sales seems to be a natural fit since many companies base their renumeration on sales figures that are easy to trace.

  • Eric Friedman Eric Friedman says:

    Hello, Handond. Thank you for your questions. Can you be more specific as to what kind of monitoring are you referring to?

    As far as your second question is concerned, eSkill covers a wide range of job positions, from Customer Service Representative, Data Entry Operator, and Office Manager. Our scalable solution is suited for organizations of all sizes and our skills assessments encompass many different industries, including Customer Service, IT, Call Centers, Healthcare.

  • I simply want to tell you that I am new to blogging and definitely enjoyed you’re page. Likely I’m likely to bookmark your blog . You surely come with amazing posts. Thanks a bunch for sharing with us your web page.

  • Avatar dani says:

    Wonderful work! This is the kind of information that are meant to be shared around the internet. Disgrace on Google for now not positioning this put up higher! Come on over and seek advice from my website . Thank you =)


  • Avatar Consulthon motivation in the workplace says:

    Hey Eric

    I totally agree with what you said in “Step 2: Give employees what they want and need” because employees are the ones who care for your clients.
    I think your article contains many useful information but I could add a few things:

    There are various ways to find out what keeps your employees motivated. You might find these things helpful as well:

    1. If you have a bit of cash (like 50$ per person), run a Belbin team roles test. This is a great exercise and I would recommend it to any team. As I said, it doesn’t come cheap, but totally worth it.

    2. Run an MBTI personality type test for the team. This is a great way to find out what type of personality each team member has. You can find lots of them free on the internet.

    3. Use a technique introduced in the book Management 3.0 called the Moving Motivators.
    Basically this is a session you can run with your team to find out the motivators for each person.

    Nice work with the article and have a nice day!

  • Avatar Yura says:

    Today companies get to rethink their approach to talent management quite often. And relocation becomes more and more common. Learn more about relocating staff overseas best practices

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