by Roy Saunderson | February 16, 2014
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What does it really take to retain your employees? We often talk about engaging our workforce and making sure we recognize and reward them correctly. But when was the last time you stepped back to think how you could inspire your employees, as well as yourself, to stick around for the long haul. These Top 10 Ways will hopefully spark some ideas for you to inspire your people to stay.
1. Prioritize your culture. I recently heard Tony Hseih, CEO of, deliver a keynote speech at the PPAI/RPI conference in Las Vegas, where he emphasized culture comes first above everything. Work on creating the beliefs and practices that are all about your company. This must become your mantra and everyone’s way of living.
2. Hire for keeps. People who are interviewed and hired must fit you culture to a tee. Skill sets, education, and experience can always be learned. But finding people who think the way your company’s people do and are committed to driving your culture forward is much harder to discover. Make it happen, anyway.
3. Demonstrate respect everywhere. Being respectful goes beyond diversity and reflects how everyone should treat each other. Expect people to be courteous and show manners everywhere whether in physical or remote meetings, in the tone of their emails, and when dealing with difficult situations.
4. Push people upward. Not only should you provide education and on-the-job learning and development wherever, whenever, and however, but people may also need a gentle and encouraging push. Let the upward direction be self-selected instead of being dictated by organizational hierarchy.
5. Encourage helping others. Instil a spirit, attitude, and practice of helping. By permitting and modeling the helping of one another across the organization you’ll build a collaborative way of doing things and prime a generation of innovative ideas. And, you’ll go a long ways to building trust, too.
6. Transparently share everything. Stop hoarding knowledge, information, and ideas, and get everything spread out all over the place. Use a collaborative cloud or software technology to keep everyone connected. Communicate openly and candidly, but clarify to fully understand the other person’s viewpoint.
7. Boldly dsrupt work. If it ain’t broke, break it. Stop doing things the same way as always. Brainstorm ideas for how to improve any and all facets of the business. Perhaps improve a product or service in ways the market can’t even expect or develop something for an entirely different marketplace.
8. Let mistakes happen. Be an encourager of people making mistakes. The only people not making mistakes are those not learning. Create improvement projects and on-the-job training, and let learning and exploration happen. Permit cross-job sharing and allow new ways and ideas to be trialed and tested.
9. Create fun opportunities. Any company that allows zany as well as traditional tried-and-true activities and fun events to happen on a regular basis is guaranteed to keep people around. This could be somehting as simple as the impromptu toffice parades that take place at Zappos, or the spinning hats with Google’s logo that are worn during orientation. 
10. Break bread often. People who eat together stay together. Whether by team, department, or company-wide, there is something about enjoying food together, both healthy and otherwise nutritious, to build bonds of community and connection. Mark this on your calendar whenever it is best to much and mingle.
Incentive columnist Roy Saunderson is author of Giving the Real Recognition Way and Chief Learning Officer of Rideau’s Recognition Management Institute, a consulting a training company which helps leaders and managers get recognition right. He can be reached at [email protected] . Also, check out the library of Real Recognition Radio shows.