Wed, February 21, 2024

Local business leaders share creative ways to retain employees

As interim director of a local nonprofit, Faith Edmondson can’t offer her employees competitive salaries, but she’s found other ways to reward them for their hard work.

36 employers and employees registered for the Third Thursday Business Builder event at the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce.

Edmondson also serves as co-founder with Ashley Ashe, and lead consultant for The Gateway Company, which provides a variety of business services, including grant writing and business coaching. It’s important to “show employees how they fit into your mission,” she says. Edmondson and Tracie Parker – lead small business consultant for Gateway – delivered a presentation called “Beyond Benefits: Building Value through Creative Compensation” at the Augusta Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Third Thursday Business Builder meeting on Thursday, August 19.

With the current job market, they explain it’s more important than ever for companies to attract candidates during the interview process. “You have to have people want to be with you,” says Edmondson. According to Parker, that’s particularly important when hiring millennial job candidates because if they don’t see how a position will value them, they will find one that does. “You’re competing with larger companies that may be able to offer higher salaries,” she explains. Many employers think what candidates value most in a job are salary and benefits, but Parker says they are motivated by many other considerations. “Employees are looking for more engagement, flexibility, and life balance,” she states. It’s important to create a positive work culture – a process that extends from hiring to termination. “People who leave your company are your ambassadors,” because they will talk to others about their experiences, Parker adds.

Lee Muns – project manager for Muns Services, LLC – has discovered creative, cost-effective ways to reward his employees, such as buying popsicles and posting shout outs on Facebook.

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She and Edmondson say employers can offer employees creative fringe benefits, such as gym memberships, event tickets, and wellness programs. Lee Muns – project manager for Muns Services, LLC in Beech Island – takes his welders shopping for new shoes, which also gives him the opportunity to get to know them. “It’s amazing what you learn when you start talking to your employees.” Muns also found a low-cost way to help his employees cool off and take a break by buying them popsicles. “We work in a hot environment,” he explains. Muns posts shout outs for his employees on Facebook as a free way to recognize their contributions. Other options include preferential parking, four-day work weeks, and telehealth services. Edmondson says the nonprofit she runs has begun offering telehealth services for its employees. “They pay for it, but it’s something we were able to offer in our benefits package,” she adds.

Chamber President Sue Parr says it’s important for employees to recommend creative benefits to their employers. “I think they will appreciate knowing those things, especially coming from one of their employees,” Parr states. “I know I would.”

Gateway will offer a webinar series for business leaders Sept. 13-17 from 11 a.m. to noon each day. Topics will include strategic planning, human resources, and process improvement.

Visit www.gatewaygrant.com for more info on the bottom of the home page.

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