Using just financial incentives to entice employees to stay at your company only means one thing; they’ll leave as soon as they get a better offer.While companies should strive to fairly compensate and financially reward employees, cash isn’t always king for employee retention.

The IT-BPM industry remains the largest private sector employer in India, directly hiring 3.1 million people in FY 2014 and was expected to exceed this number during FY 2015. According to a Towers Watson study, while financial reward is top of the list of reasons why employees are initially attracted to work for a company, career advancement opportunities are cited as the top retention driver.Interestingly, employers on the other hand, rated financial benefits as the number one driver for retaining their talent.


Other top factors for employees were their relationship with their manager and having trust in their leaders, proving employee engagement is a more complex proposition than simply dishing out the cash.This disconnect between employer and employee perception can be the making (or breaking) of a stable, thriving environment for incentive

Experience tells me that an organisation’s success is through its people. And most people seek three main things from their job, aside from financial benefits; opportunities for growth and progress, recognition, and a feeling of value in their work.

Employees also increasingly expect transparency, authenticity and thought leadership to be at the heart of the company they work for.This is a radical departure from the traditional autocratic leadership styles familiar in India, to a more empowering, supportive, yet challenging culture. Open and honest two-way communication is key to driving this type of environment.Opportunities for employees to ask questions, offer ideas and get involved in discussion through forums such as blogs, roundtables, surveys and all-hands calls should be encouraged.This gives the visibility and context people need to be successful in their roles and feel connected to where their organisation is headed.


Set a clear, common purpose everyone in your organisation can relate to: 95% of strategies fail at the implementation phase because they are too high level. It’s always pitched at the leadership team. So when it comes to implementation, people on the ground fail to execute because of a lack of understanding rather than the lack of willingness to execute.

Equip your managers: If there are skill gaps in your management team, coach them with fundamental leadership training. Confident managers armed with the skills to empower their people and guide them through their career, will lead strong teams aligned to your company’s purpose.

Encourage and support people’s growth and development: Put in place programmes for employees to plan and grow their career.This should cover initiatives such as personal development plans agreed with line managers, training and development, talent pools, succession programmes and mapping career paths.

Recognise and reward: Monthly, quarterly and annual recognition awards aligned to your company’s values are a great place to start. It reinforces the behaviours you are looking for and makes it clear to employees what they need to achieve to be successful. Real time recognition is also powerful; if you see something done well, don’t wait for a formal meeting to share it.

Give your employees a voice: It’s important to listen to your people and regularly take the temperature of your workforce. By surveying employees, it helps to identify where you’re currently successful, as well as opportunities to improve.

Champion open and honest communication: This should happen throughout all levels of the organisation. A communications ethos which combines a mix of top-down, bottom-up and a blend of the two communication types can be really effective. Employees should be given the opportunity to participate in a number of ways, for example, face to face, audio, video, online, email, social media and webcasts.

Have [email protected]: Affiliate with charities and organise team events to raise money for them.This not only helps reinforce your corporate image, but increases the feeling of value with employees. Celebrating holidays and special occasions both, personal and work related are also great ways to build a sense of community and engagement.

Successful employee engagement can be the difference between keeping your valued talent or losing them to your competitors. A company’s success is through its people and following this philosophy underpins becoming an employer of choice. Many employers have yet to truly embrace this concept and if they continue to believe that cash alone is king, they’ll end up being the joker in the pack.