4 Ways Companies Can Give Back To Employees Before It's Too Late

I met with Scott Span, MSOD, president of Tolero Solutions, this week for lunch, and we talked at length about Gen Y in the workplace. One issue that came up repeatedly was how employers are treating employees throughout the recession – particularly junior-level staffers – and the future consequences this will have on their organizations.

Does your place of employment have a, “You should be glad you have a job” mentality? If so, it’s just a matter of time before there’s a mass exodus of your team.

But, it’s (perhaps) not too late to change your attitude and take a different approach toward the individuals who help your organization run day-in and day-out.

1. Reward them. I’m not talking about expensive gifts, trips or even plaques. Call out their hard work in front of their co-workers – that’s often all it takes. While a “pat on the back” is different for every generation, and can even vary person-to-person, everyone likes being recognized in front of their colleagues. If you want to do more, I suggest conducting an anonymous survey.

2. Create a professional development program. This can be as simple and cost-effective as senior leaders teaching lower-level staff about a particular subject once a month. If you put time and energy into developing your staff, they will begin to feel more important – and knowledgeable! It’s a win-win.

3. Give back to your community. Depending on the type of organization you have, you might be able to take on a pro bono/charity client. Or, you can arrange a “day of service” every quarter, six months, or  year. Gen Y in particular values volunteerism, and you will move up in their books simply for giving back.

4. Establish a mentorship program. I am a particularly big advocate of creating mutually beneficial mentorship programs within all organizations. Sure, it takes time to develop them, and your employees will have to spend time away from “working” to keep the relationships going, but there are so many benefits to your organization in the end, such as increased retention and engagement levels.

This list could be much longer, as there are many ways to make your organization a great place to work almost overnight. What would you add?

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