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Top 20 Incentives to Increase Employee Retention


As budgets get tighter and quality help harder to find and retain, we have to be creative in what we can offer those employees as incentives to come on board or to stick with your municipality. Surprisingly enough, there are actually quite a few ideas that just may do that for you. The days of "you'll work when and how I tell you without asking for anything different" are long gone. It used to be that if you didn't feel that a job was right for you, you just gathered up your lunch box and went home for good. Now with some out-of-the-box thinking, you as an employer can provide incentives that will be attractive to, and hopefully retain, your employees for the long haul. And these options don't have to cripple the budget.


The following are my Top 20 employee incentives for increasing retention:

  1. Flexible Work Arrangements: Allow employees to have flexible work hours or telecommuting options when possible, enhancing work-life balance.

  2. Professional Development: Offer training, workshops, or opportunities for skill enhancement to help employees grow in their roles.

  3. Recognition and Appreciation: Recognize outstanding performance through awards, certificates, or a simple “thank you” note to boost morale.

  4. Mentorship Programs: Create mentorship opportunities for employees to learn from experienced colleagues, fostering professional growth.

  5. Health and Wellness Programs: Promote wellness through activities like walking challenges, yoga classes, or health-related workshops.

  6. Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): Provide counseling and support services to help employees with personal and work-related issues.

  7. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Encourage the formation of ERGs to support diversity, inclusion, and employee engagement.

  8. Work-Life Balance Support: Offer resources for childcare, eldercare, or other family-related support.

  9. Commuting Benefits: If possible, provide subsidies for public transportation or incentives for carpooling to reduce commuting costs.

  10. Recognition of Milestones: Celebrate work anniversaries and other significant achievements to show appreciation.

  11. Cross-Training Opportunities: Allow employees to gain experience in different departments or roles to broaden their skills.

  12. Access to Municipal Services: Offer employees discounted or preferential access to municipal services, such as recreation facilities or programs.

  13. Volunteer Opportunities: Facilitate community involvement and volunteering, allowing employees to give back to the community.

  14. Casual Dress Code Days: Implement occasional casual dress code days to create a relaxed work atmosphere.

  15. Employee Input and Feedback: Encourage employees to provide input on workplace improvements and consider their suggestions.

  16. Employee Engagement Surveys: Conduct regular surveys to gather feedback and make improvements based on employee input.

  17. Social Events: Organize low-cost social events like potlucks, picnics, or team-building activities to foster camaraderie.

  18. Public Recognition: Highlight employee achievements in municipal publications or social media to showcase their contributions.

  19. Access to Educational Resources: Offer free access to online courses, libraries, or educational materials.

  20. Flexible Leave Policies: Allow employees to use accrued leave for various purposes, such as volunteering or personal development.

  21. These cost-free benefits can contribute to employee satisfaction, retention, and attraction, ultimately benefiting the municipality and its workforce. One or more of these free or low-cost options can help you "fire this thing up" and create a workplace that finds and retains quality employees.


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