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Focusing on This 1 Thing Could Be Your Ticket to Employee Retention

By Maurie Backman - Jun 18, 2019 at 8:08AM

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Hint: It's not salary.

Today's job market is fairly robust and competitive. For workers, that's a good thing, as it means opportunities abound. For employers, however, it can pose a challenge, since worker retention becomes more difficult during periods when landing a new job is relatively easy.

If you've been struggling on the retention front, you're probably aware that losing valued workers means having to sink more time and money into recruiting and onboarding, all the while grappling with a loss of output. To avoid that, you could try raising workers' pay and agreeing to more flexible scheduling. But here's another tactic you might employ: focusing on your workers' physical well-being.

A man lifting a dumbbell while sitting on a weight bench.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Help your employees stay physically healthy

When you think about the things that are most important to workers, you might land on salary, paid time off, and retirement benefits, like a 401(k) match. But the ability to maintain good physical health is extremely important as well.

Unfortunately, a large number of workers feel that their employers make it difficult for them to work out on a regular basis. Global fitness company Zeamo surveyed 5,000 workers across the U.S. and discovered that 42% of employees feel that their employers have a responsibility to keep them physically well. In fact, 72% wish their employers would offer paid or subsidized fitness activities as part of their workplace benefits package.

What's disturbing, however, is that 55% of workers feel that their employers make it difficult to stay fit. In fact, 41% say that their main reason for not working out during the week is not having ample time, and employer demands tie into that. These days, many companies expect their employees to work late consistently, but that extra time at the office can eat into opportunities to exercise or hit the gym.

The result? Many workers are unhappy -- and no doubt contemplating the notion of jumping ship. Rather than risk losing out on key talent, it pays to instead consider rethinking your benefits offering on the fitness front.

What perks might you include? For one thing, you can offer to cover the cost of employees' gym memberships, or at least subsidize their cost. You can also offer your workers an allowance for fitness equipment -- for example, $200 a year toward items like treadmills, bikes, weight sets, and other tools that make it possible to work out independently.

On-site fitness classes are another great way to help your employees stay fit. You can offer these on a daily or weekly basis, depending on what your budget and space allow for. Similarly, you can install fitness equipment in the office and encourage workers to use it during break periods.

Most importantly, you can help your employees stay physically well by making it possible for them to work out. This means allowing them to leave the office at a reasonable hour at least some nights during the week, or letting them take extended lunch breaks to squeeze in workouts during the day.

The better your employees feel physically, the more content they're likely to be mentally. Focus on helping your workers stay fit, and you might find that they stay on board even when competing offers land on the table.

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