One Key to Employee Retention: Family Buy-In, 9 ideas

Imagine one of your fabulous employees is on vacation, looking off into the ocean, and says thoughtfully to their loved one,

“Honey, I’ve been thinking, maybe I should look for a job somewhere else.  What do you think?”

A.  “Well finally, I’ve been asking you for months to get out of there!”


B. “Really?  I think they’re a really great company and I don't know if you realize how good you have it.”

This conversation will be a turning point in your employee’s decision to stay or leave.  You should be asking:

  • What is the perception of your employee’s family of your company?
  • Do they think you treat their loved one well?
  • Do they think you compensate fairly?
  • Do they think you care?
  • Do they understand the business model and how their loved one fits in?
  • Are they worried about their loved one losing his/her job?

Family's perceptions – spouses, parents, children – are often based on their loved one’s perception along with their own life experiences.  So what can you do?

Here's 9 ideas to consider:

  1. Really look at how you handle work/family requests – try to honor them as often as possible, (of course within reason.)  Especially in the cases of illness, life events and celebration.
  2. Know the names of the significant people in their life – and ask about them.  Bonus points if you keep track of their children's ages and birthdays (perhaps have a balloon on hand to go home to younger children or a Bernstein Bears book).
  3. Invite significant others to an event where you have an opportunity to share with them both the current state of the company as well as the vision and mission of the company.  Talk about the importance of each individual’s contribution to the success of the company.  (And provide on-site child care.)
  4. If you have employees who travel often for the company, make sure they and their families know how to use Skype (and if needed purchase cameras for the computers.)
  5. Consider buying a family dinner on a night when their loved one has to stay late.
  6. Consider housecleaning as a reward/benefit.
  7. Consider a contribution towards therapy as a benefit.
  8. Be supportive of healthy eating and exercise.  A few ideas - you could have a healthy cooking contest.  Or have a nutrition class.  Or offer access to on-site after work yoga classes.  Or have a bulletin board to share quick healthy recipes.
  9. On school out days, set up a babysitting co-op in which older children of employees watch younger children of employees at the work place. (Look into insurance…)

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