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Learn from the best: 5 retention tips from top companies

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in Employee Benefits Program,Hiring,HR Management,Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Management Training

When it comes to recruiting and retaining, organizations don’t need to reinvent the wheel or create bold initiatives to attract and keep the best workers. Sometimes, simply doing the triedand- true things right are all you need.

But what are those “right” things? For starters, look at the practices of the nation’s best companies.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Great Place to Work Institute annually announce the 50 “Best Small and Medium Companies to Work For.”

Those employers represent various industries but, not surprisingly, they handle employee relations and benefits in a similar way. The best part: You don’t have to bust your budget to do the same. Here are five things the companies share:

  1. Stellar communication with employees. All of the businesses seek employee input through surveys: 96 percent use e-mail and 88 percent hold town-hall-style meetings. They update employees on finances and on progress against competition, and they share major projects in-house before launching them. Example: Execs at Wisconsin-based Badger Mining Corp. visit plants monthly to talk with employees one on one.
  2. Flexible working schedules and time-off policies. Among the best companies, 28 percent allow telecommuting and 32 percent offer unpaid sabbaticals. They offer an average of 18 paid days off to employees after one year.
  3. Health care, wellness and fitness. A great majority of the best small companies pay at least 70 percent of employees’ health premiums. More than half subsidize off-site fitness center memberships, and 28 percent provide blood pressure screening. Example: New Hampshire equipment manufacturer Schleuniger Inc. reimburses employees $300 a year for things such as health club memberships, yoga classes and diet counseling.
  4. Simple perks. Examples: A Jacksonville Beach, Fla., placement service sends welcome gift baskets to new employees and a bottle of wine to their spouses. A Memphis advertising firm offers occasional free massages and manicures, and surprise outings during workdays.
  5. Executives show they care. Examples: Execs at Phoenix marketing firm McMurry Inc. gave up their parking spaces to employees when the lot became full, and they took 5 percent to 10 percent pay cuts when business slowed. Executives at a Chicago construction company periodically work maintenance and construction jobs alongside employees.

Get a little recognition yourself: Nominations for the Great Place to Work Institute's 2008 "Best Small and Medium Companies to Work for in America" close on August 22. For information on how you can nominate your company, visit www.greatplacetowork.com/best/nominations/nom-sme.php

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