Eight Effective Perks to Retain Top Talent


Sure, salary is important, but the work environment you’ve fostered for your employees is a vital way to encourage employee retention. The tenor and tone of the workplace, the health and well-being of your staff and the many ways you show your appreciation do just as much, if not more, than a paycheck does to help you retain top talent.

In a thriving economy, you need to assess the mood of your executive staff. It’s sometimes the intangible perks that keep them from becoming enamored by a competitive offer. To retain top talent, you can sweeten the pot with empowering perks that help instill loyalty. Give your employees reasons to continue growing with your company.

Reward the Winners

Your top executives need more than a pat on the back; they need tangible proof of their successes. Cash rewards are still the primary motivator to solidify employee retention. Incentives tied to performance will help you retain top talent.

Quarterly, annual and project-based bonuses rank among the top perks that drive loyalty and improve executive retention. Cash incentives tell your top-performing employees that the work they do plays an integral role in the overall success of the company. Through a bonus structure, employees get tangible feedback that their efforts have a direct impact on the company’s bottom line.

Dress for Success

Dress down Friday

Too often, top executives feel constrained to dress in the requisite suit and tie or stockings and heels because of the corporate culture you’ve promoted. By easing up on the corporate dress codes of yore when you can, you instill a sense of being at home, which can be another way to retain top talent.

It doesn’t cost you anything to institute Casual Fridays or to set an example by dressing down when no outside meetings or client visits are planned. And your top team can relax and feel as if they are part of a hard-working team without having to keep up the appearances of authority every day. Studies show that employees feel trusted when you encourage them to dress appropriately. And your big projects get their full attention when they feel most comfortable.

Invest in the Future

Successful executives strive to be better. They want to learn and improve their skills while advancing their career prospects. Offering to pay for continuing education enhances executive retention by building loyalty. Whether you pay for industry certifications or advanced degrees, you not only retain top talent, you also build a smarter workforce in the process. Tuition reimbursement can be tied to a contract that ensures retention for a limited period of time. It sends a very clear message that you believe in your staff and are grooming them for bigger and better opportunities.

Build Healthy Employee Retention

Dress down Friday

A popular company perk catching on around the country is membership in a nearby gym or fitness center. To retain top talent, you need them to be healthy. Not only will the membership increase morale and energize your team, it also can help cut down drastically on your health care costs.

Employee perks that offer such huge win-win benefits for both employees and employers are becoming the norm because they just make sense. Work out a deal with a local fitness center to receive reduced membership fees for your staff. It’s a relatively inexpensive but powerful incentive to stay with your company.

Make Work Fun and Competitive

A little healthy competition adds energy and spirit to your workforce. It can improve employee retention as well. While your sales team may already strive to beat their peers, the rest of your team can participate in contests to reap the rewards of winning too. Contests help employees form bonds and get to know their coworkers better.

Hand out prizes such as box seats to the theater or a sporting event to the employees who track the most time in the gym. Hold an open contest to see if someone can come up with a clever new ad campaign. Retain top talent with rewards for reaching certain goals: invitations to golf tournaments, banquets and out-of-town conventions.

Provide Flexible Options

work from home day to help retain top talent

Flex time and telecommuting are perks that recruiters find to be great recruiting tools, but they also can increase employee retention. Flexible working conditions let employees put in long days when projects and workload demand it, but allow them to cut out early on a Friday or take a day off in the middle of the week when things slow down. Flexible schedules help retain top talent.

When top executives aren’t bombarded with phone calls, meetings and staff issues, they can become more productive. At times, they need to focus on one project or one proposal. Even the most organized, energetic, multi-tasking super-execs can accomplish more in a day at home than they could in a week at work. Giving them that flexibility generates gratitude and makes them more likely to stay with your company.

Retain Top Talent with Family Ties

When employees’ families are happy, employees are happy. Look for ways to reward the spouses, children, significant others and extended family with perks that make everyone happy. A husband, for example, may get really excited when he receives an all-expenses-paid trip to accompany his wife at a corporate event out of town.

Retain top talent by extending gym memberships to the whole family, rewarding top performers with tickets to family-friendly events or amusement parks, or creating scholarships for employees’ children. Many companies say they want their staff to feel like family, but few actually follow through. Put your perks where your pundits are and include the family that supports your team outside the office.

Encourage Smart Savings

Smart savings piggy bank

Retirement savings in the form of a 401(k) or other retirement plans are common benefits you can offer to retain top talent. Take it one step further by providing group discounts at local merchants, by subsidizing activities like yoga or swimming lessons that improve employees’ well-being, or with discounted or free services that your company provides its customers.

Bring in financial planners to meet with employees and allow them to teach your staff about the benefits of savings, how to invest smartly in the stock market and other timely topics of interest. Workshops geared toward financial success for every level of your staff can greatly increase employee retention.

Give a Little to Gain a Lot

Trust us when we tell you that recruiters are circling around your top talent. Treat them like a real family, give them reasons to remain loyal and create a fun, energetic, thriving work environment with perks that very often cost you little — especially in comparison to the cost of replacing your best employees. Retain top talent with perks they want, perks that make sense, and perks that end up creating a more valuable work experience for everyone.

The Author

Straight from the desk of

Charlie Kimmel

Charlie Kimmel

President & CEO

Charlie Kimmel has dedicated his career to executive search. Charlie is an honors graduate of the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He began his career at Kimmel & Associates as a recruiter in 1990.

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