After reading a great article in Marketing Week about the future of customer loyalty schemes, it got us thinking about employee retention. Is it really that much different to customer retention? There are certainly some strong parallels:

  • it’s a lot more expensive to recruit employees than it is to keep them
  • loyalty is not just about rewards; it’s important for people to feel valued too
  • rewarding what’s important to the individual and personalising their experience builds loyalty.

So think about it. As a company, you can improve your retention if you apply the same marketing principles to your employees as you do to your customers. If employees consistently have a fantastic experience at work, they will stay longer.

Some companies do this incredibly well and the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies list is worth looking at for inspiration. Number one on the list is Simply Business – the online insurer. They say they’ve changed the culture and put employees at the forefront. “You can’t force people who hate their environment to do a good job,” Chief executive Jason Stockwood adds. “Customers only come first if our employees are happy and doing a good job.”

Perks include a benefits package with private health insurance and life assurance. Salaries have also been improved year on year. Trips, nights out and office beers are part of the company’s fabric, as are charity events. Employees are highly engaged at Simply Business, 90% say they would not leave for another job.

This Spring, the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s outlook survey reported over a third of employees now believe they are unlikely or very unlikely to fulfill their career aspirations in their current organisation. So it’s important for companies, especially those that are growing, to have this at the top of their mind.

Now employee retention isn’t just about reward and recognition of course, it’s a whole host of things like engagement, job satisfaction, employee growth and development etc. But I’m just going to focus on the rewards for today.

When it comes to rewarding people, this goes for customers and employees, if you tailor a reward around people’s hobbies, desires and interests it will have more impact. Not much point rewarding someone with a day out at the races if they don’t agree with gambling or the sport. But, give a father some money off or tickets to LEGOLAND in the summer and you’re onto a winner. Not only is he rewarded but the people that matter to him most are too.

Research also shows that gift cards are a great long term motivational tool compared to a monetary reward. Surprisingly, 40% of employees say they would rather receive a voucher or card as a reward. Maybe this is because money can get eaten up by the weekly shop but when you have a gift card you consciously think about how you’ll treat yourself.

We’ve had some outstanding results from our customer retention programmes with a broad range of clients. After some deep thinking this week, we have a sneaky suspicion we can deliver the same for employee retention too. If you are interested in knowing more, please get in touch.