By Renee Ann Butler

Companies are struggling with keeping margins low and options agile as they wage a business war against the competitor down the street, as well as one in the next state or halfway around the world.

In many cases, employees are the collateral damage — and they aren’t happy about it. Workers everywhere are being asked to do more with less as businesses everywhere learn to compete on a broader scale. They get paid less and get smaller raises than they think they deserve.

If you are ready to get serious about your staff, here are some of the best ways for you to attract and keep good employees.

Learn From Your Staff

Start by asking your employees what types of incentives they find most appealing. Questions like “What do you like about working here?” or “What are three things I could change to make you want to work here forever?” will help you understand what they value specifically. By taking action on some of those suggestions, you can improve the loyalty of your existing employees and get an idea of what new hires will want going forward.

Let Them Use Their Strengths

Also, look for ways to let your employees use their strengths. People have an inherent need to do the things that they do well. Even if it falls slightly outside their job descriptions, you can provide opportunities for your staff to really shine by doing the activities they know they do better than anyone else. This helps your people evolve and develop professionally as well as help them feel respected and valued for the unique contributions they can make to your company.

Establish a Sense of Community

A sense of community is important as well. Your employees want to feel like they belong and that the rest of the staff would care if one of them was suddenly gone. While you may not be able to make all of your people like each other, you can do things to reinforce the company culture. Team-building exercises, a well-stocked break room, and collaborative projects can help you forge connections amongst your people.

Provide Recognition

When someone does something well, puts in an extra effort or does something better than they normally do, make sure that you take the time to acknowledge that contribution — and make sure your praise is dealt evenly, all the way down the line, suggests The Balance Careers. If you start recognizing some people and not others, it can lead to hurt feelings and eventually low morale, but if your employees know you will call them out for a job well done, you’ll be surprised how quickly most of them will respond.

Enable Health and Wellness

The 2018 Global Talent Trends survey reports that 50 percent of employees want to see their company focus more on employee health and wellness. Providing ample lunchtime for fitness classes or doctor visits can be a good start towards helping employees be healthier. Also, consider offering wellness days and meditation breaks for mental wellness. A security camera system should rank on your list of things to do as well, as it can help your employees feel safer when they are leaving the office.

Managers think about how to hire employees and how to train them but not how to attract the top talent and keep them coming back. If you want to have the best employees possible, spend time learning what your people want and finding ways to let them use their strengths. Establishing a sense of community and providing recognition can go a long way to keeping your people loyal and productive too, but empowering your staff to be healthy and well completes the effort.

Renee Ann Butler is a freelance writer with over 15 years of experience in business and management. Her writing has appeared on SCORE, TheStreet, Marketwatch, Insider Monkey, Seeking Alpha, and Motley Fool. She has an MBA in Finance and undergrad degrees in psychology and sociology. She specializes in retail, technology, and consumer goods.

Employees stock photo by Lightspring/Shutterstock