It takes more than money to retain quality staff

Thursday, June 30, 2005

YARMOUTH, Maine -- If you have employees jumping ship and going to work for competitors, they may be doing it for more than just money.
"Money is very important, and there is always someone who can come up with more money," said business consultant Vince Crew, president of Reach Development in Naples, Fla. "You have to look beyond the money issues."
That means knowing your employees, and understanding what they find valuable about your company. In addition to a competitive paycheck, that could be a bonus program or awards that recognize good performance or a flexible schedule that accommodates a parent's multiple responsibilities.
"People need to see that their contributions are appreciated, and if they do, they won't want to listen to other offers," Crew said. "If I have a problem and I go to my manager and I know it is not going to be ignored, why should I go elsewhere?"
Attorney Richard Tuten of the Health Law Center in Greenville, S.C., agrees.
"The way to fight having your employees cherry picked is to make them prefer to stay with you," Tuten said.
You do that by creating a good work environment and allowing your employees to develop a sense of fulfillment -- a feeling they are doing something important for the community, healthcare or their own intellectual development, Tuten said.
"When you ask people what is most important to them about a job, they say, 'I have to be happy,'" he added. "A lot of people are surprised that money is not at the top of the list."
Noncompete contracts also can help prevent cherry picking, but these must be carefully constructed and enforceability varies from state to state, say healthcare attorneys.