Flexibility + Appreciation = Employee Loyalty

5 min read

Today, employees place a premium on work-life balance and flexibility. They want to be valuable members of their company, and also attentive parents, significant others, and friends. Making it to Bikram or trying a new recipe from Pinterest might be on their agenda too, but, hey, you can’t have time for everything. The point is that all that effort deserves extra acknowledgement from time to time. Whether it’s giving props when a team member kills it on a big presentation, or allowing a burned-out staffer to telecommute, being flexible and dialed in to employee needs goes a long way in terms of increasing motivation and commitment to work. According to a 2012 National Business Research Institute survey, 69% of employees would work harder if their efforts and successes were more recognized. Three Girls Media, an award-winning boutique public relations and social media management agency, is a great example of a company that knows how to incent right. Publicity Director Emily Sidley of Seattle shares how Three Girls has appreciated, rewarded, and supported her through various milestones in her life: [caption id="attachment_8459" align="alignleft" width="200"]Emily Sidley Emily Sidley[/caption]   Since I started with Three Girls Media six and a half years ago, I’ve never been denied time off. Whether I want to take a long weekend to go to Disneyland with friends or a week to visit family out of state, as long as my responsibilities are covered, I’m free to go. I’ve undergone several life changes during my time at Three Girls, and through it all, my boss has been flexible and accommodating. When I got married and moved farther away, she allowed me to telecommute. When I wanted to move to another state, she figured out the logistics and made it happen. Now that I’ve become a mother, I’m given the schedule flexibility I need to keep a balanced life. I was even able to dictate exactly how long I wanted my maternity leave to last and work my way back up to full time based on how the baby was doing! Another thing I love about my job is how appreciated my boss makes me feel. In addition to being given kudos for work that’s well done, she takes the time to tell me how much she appreciates me being part of the team. Although money isn’t everything, it does play a part. During the middle of the recession, when I knew money was tight and a raise was impractical, my boss still showed her appreciation by giving me bonuses every now and then. I love the flexibility and regular kudos I get working for Three Girls Media. This is definitely one company that gets incentives right.  

The key to motivation

Emily’s story reminds us that empowerment, recognition, and rewards are key to employee motivation. The idea championed by experts Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton in their exceedingly popular books – including The Carrot Principle – is that people work best when they feel appreciated. Employees long for the carrots of recognition, praise, and empowerment. We work best when we feel respected and included. Still need another reason to give increased  flexibility and recognition a try ? The average cost to replace an employee is about 150% of the lost employee’s annual salary! Try switching it up and you might be surprised at the increased engagement, lack of turnover, and staying power of your employees. The Anatomy of an Engaged Employee by NBRI   Rubber band image by Yuriy Boyko/Shutterstock