Typical employee benefits no longer differentiate a company as much as they used to. Companies are realizing they must offer unique advantages that other businesses don’t to keep top talent. Investing in your employees is not a new strategy, but there are different ways of creating loyalty among your top performers.
Here are five uncommon ways to create loyal, top-performing employees within your company:
1. Thought Leadership
I’ve learned that one of the biggest employee motivators is a sense of pride in their work. If your teammates feel they’re truly the best at what they do, that goes a long way. Encouraging and investing in your employees can be both a big motivator and a great boon to the company. In a recent article, a colleague and I talked about the benefits that thought leadership can bring a company’s marketing.
However, we left out the fact that one of the biggest benefits is to the employee. The more an employee leads her space, the more opportunity and credibility she brings to her company. Look at your VPs or directors, and put a plan in place to share their expertise with the public. Sure, you could worry about them leaving to start their own ventures or join another company, but if they’re the right people for your business, it should make them more loyal to your company.
2. Personal Branding
This ties into thought leadership nicely because you can build your employees’ brands as they become thought leaders. Maximize the value of the content they release or the awards they receive. Make sure everybody updates their LinkedIn and other social media profiles. Educate them on Google’s Author Rank so they increase their Web presence. As you increase their brands, you will see your company’s credibility skyrocket. Investing in the branding of your employees is almost as important as the overall branding of your company. When your partners or customers deal with your company, they deal with the people who lead it. A good personal brand will mean fewer trust barriers to overcome. Your staff will have more credibility and, at the same time, create opportunity for the company.
3. Unique Culture Benefits
Normal benefits like 401(k)s and insurance are important, but it’s also important to provide benefits that set you apart. In an earlier post, I wrote about a variety of different unique job benefits. Ken DeGilio, CEO of LaunchMob Media, has his team “volunteer for One Brick Orlando doing social media trainings — and they’re usually in a bar!” Invest in events and benefits your employees will brag about to their friends. You will instill a sense of pride in the company and probably obtain a few more applications from talent — without spending a dime on recruiting.
4. Personal Time Investments
This is the hardest investment, but it’s also the most valuable. When my co-founder and I started Influence and Co., we invested a lot of time in each employee. We made it a point to take employees out to lunch, include them in business trips related to their areas, and spend time with them outside work. We were able to create a trusting environment while helping all our employees develop into the leaders they are today. As a result, we’ve had no employees leave and have been able to sustain growth because we have great employees who can lead day-to-day operations while we focus on the big picture. It was a big investment, but also well worth the time.
5. Network Expansion
Many leaders are scared of the thought that their employees could develop massive networks. Job opportunities will eventually come their way, and they could easily be lost. However, if you invest in the above benefits, there should be a trust created that makes that less of a worry.
Make it a point to continuously introduce your employees to influential people you know. A spread effect will occur; they’ll develop the relationship and often turn it into an opportunity you might have missed. They’ll also gain the confidence that naturally comes with having a bigger network, and they will have more resources to learn from. Outside of the content I read, the best information comes from conversations I have with other leaders in my network. It’s worth it to invest in giving introductions or services that will help your employees become “connected.”
You want your company to stand out from the dozens you’re competing against — to do that, you have to help your employees stand out. Your team really is your most valuable asset, and your team will keep adding value once they feel your loyalty is as strong as theirs.
John Hall is the CEO of Influence & Co., a company that assists individuals and brands in growing their influence through thought leadership and content marketing programs. Influence & Co., one of the leading providers of high quality expert content to the world’s top publications, is the creator of Contributor Weekly. Connect with John on Twitter or Google+.
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