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Generous benefits energize workers

January 09, 2012

Employee retention is one of the best ways to keep your business running smoothly.

 By Peggy Hodges Rosser, ASU-SBDC Business Development Specialist and Rural Business Manager


SAN ANGELO, Texas — I saw it there on the horizon as I drove west on Loop 306.

On the digital billboard was her picture and recognition as employee of the quarter. Employee of the Quarter! Wow! What an honor.

I do not know her personally, but I can’t imagine how that felt the first time she saw her smiling face greeting the scores of motorists traveling the loop.

I would imagine it gave her a real sense of pride in her job and provided for a renewed loyalty to her employer.

Employee retention is one of the best ways to keep your business running smoothly.

The Society for Human Resource Management refers to retention as a key economic driver.

“It costs an organization a significant dollar amount whenever an existing employee must be replaced. These costs include termination processes, recruiting a new employee, onboarding processes and decreased productivity in response to the new employee’s learning curve as he or she acclimated to the new position.”

Of course there are the traditional benefits packages of health insurance and life insurance.

What are you doing to support the loyalty of your employees?

A local fast-food chain has made a procedural change in how the waitstaff handles your order. As the order is delivered, they simply say, “Hello, I’m Samantha.” The customer may say, “Hello Samantha,” acknowledging the waitstaff.

It is human nature to enjoy hearing the sound of your name, even if you are the one saying it.

Besides hearing your name, I am of the opinion that management made this change for two additional reasons.

First, to provide for a more personal experience for the customer, and second, it may provide for the waitstaff to receive a tip, therefore contributing to the employee’s income. A happy employee becomes a retained employee.

Money does talk! I recently heard about a small company’s contribution plan. For every $1 an employee contributes to their personal 401K, the employer matches with $2. Yes, there are monthly percentage caps, but what a way to build employee loyalty!

Flat-rate monthly longevity pay can also contribute to an employee’s sense of loyalty. Just making it a line item on the employee’s monthly paycheck reminds them that they are appreciated for their continued work.

When a small company gets large, be careful to remember that sometimes it is still the small actions that make a big difference. In one local company’s corporate headquarters are professionally taken portraits of 20-year employees hanging on lobby walls, displayed as if each were serving as president of the company. How much did the employer have to invest in that to garner a sense of loyalty?

Don’t forget the basics of retention by making sure your employees know what you expect of them.

Their loyalty will suffer if they do not know what exactly it is that you expect of them in their job assignments.

Providing an employee the opportunity for professional development will serve the company well.

The employee will return with renewed enthusiasm and ideas to share with the rest of the team.

Small perks also generate loyalty. One local company provides a yoga class for employees! Other ideas might include flextime or telecommuting.

Take an opportunity to network with other managers in your field to develop low-cost ideas.

The advisers at the ASU Small Business Development Center will be glad to assist as you strive to develop retention strategies.

“Business Tips” was written by Peggy Hodges Rosser, rural business development specialist and certified business adviser IV of Angelo State University’s Small Business Development Center. Contact her at

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