Ineffective compensation strategies lead to poor retention. Are your compensation packages satisfying employees? Keep reading to better understand the relationship between employee retention and compensation and techniques that improve both.

Types of Compensation Strategies That Improve Employee Retention

There are several ways to enhance employee retention with compensation strategies

Competitive Salaries

Paying your employees a competitive salary based on their skills and experience is one of the best ways to increase retention. A Harvard study found when people are paid more than they initially expected, they put in more effort, are more productive, and are more likely to stay long-term.

Competitive pay not only increases retention but also productivity. One Paychex study found 70% of employees named low salary as their top reason for leaving a job or why they would leave a job.


Rewarding top performers with incentives not only motivates employees, but it also increases retention. Incentives include:

  • Monetary regular bonuses
  • Long-term incentives (performance shares, profit shares)
  • Cash spot rewards

Incentives are an effective employee retention/compensation strategy. Over 77% of employees say they would work harder if their employer offered more incentives, and the presence of incentive programs motivates 66% of workers to stay at their current job.

Modify Salary Based on Geographic Location

If your business operates on a hybrid or remote model, it’s important to modify salaries based on your employees’ geographic location. The cost of living differs in almost every city in the United States, so if you’re hiring remote positions, consider those cost differences. The current best practice is to pay employees based on the office they are assigned to rather than where the employee may live.

Merit Increases/Pay for Performance

Merit increases are a type of incentive where employees are rewarded with bonuses or raises for their performance. Employees are not promoted with a merit increase; they’re just given a pay increase while remaining in the same position.

Merit increases aren’t the same as general pay adjustments. Pay adjustments are regular increases based on how long someone has been with the company or changes in the cost of living. Merit increases strictly focus on rewarding employees for good performance. 

This incentive improves motivation, encourages employees to continue working hard, and increases employee retention. To succeed, your organization should have an objective performance assessment system.

Robust Benefit Packages

Employees want to work for people who care about them. Show your team members you value them by providing robust, customizable employee benefits packages.

Benefits include:

  • Health, dental, and vision insurance
  • Paid time off
  • Sick days
  • Retirement/401k
  • Paid medical or maternity leave
  • Profit sharing

Every employee has different needs, so allow them to pick which benefits apply to them instead of having a “one-size fits all” approach. Offering competitive benefits packages effectively increases employee retention, as employees won’t be searching for better benefits elsewhere.

Using Compensation Surveys

Compensation surveys are an excellent tool for improving the overall relationship between employee retention and compensation. These surveys offer insight into similar businesses and their compensation rates and strategies so you can stay competitive. Take time to thoroughly review the survey participant list and how long ago the data was collected.

Compensation surveys gather data regarding:

  • Benefits
  • Insurance
  • Base salaries
  • Merit increases

If you need help improving your employee retention with compensation, these surveys are a helpful tool. Many outsourced HR providers develop surveys based on your industry and company size to help you improve internal compensation processes.

Overtime Pay

Offering overtime pay gives employees a chance to work more hours and make more money, which benefits them and the company. It’s a win-win situation that improves retention. All pay provided (salary or bonus) to a non-exempt employee must be included when calculating the regular rate of overtime pay.

What’s the Best Compensation Plan For My Business?

Your compensation plan depends on your business’s structure and size. There are three compensation plans that suit different industries and positions:

Straight Salary Compensation for Exempt Employees

Straight salary compensation gives exempt employees a set annual amount of money. Exempt workers have the flexibility to work outside of the office since they don’t have to record hours. 

This compensation plan suits:

  • Positions that require 40 hours or less of work per week
  • The annual salary is more than an employee would make in a year if they made an hourly wage
  • Employees who want stable, non-fluctuating income

Straight salaries for exempt employees are excellent for businesses that offer regular raises, as they simplify the process of raises.

Salary Plus Commission Compensation

Salary plus commission compensation offers employees a secure wage while reflecting their individual contributions to the company. Team members make a set salary while bringing home extra money for any commission they’ve made.

This compensation plan suits:

  • People in sales or leadership positions
  • Employees who must hit monthly metrics/goals

Commission motivates employees to reach company goals and stay with the organization.

Straight Hourly Compensation

Straight hourly compensation pays non-exempt employees based on the number of hours they work. If an employee works over 40 hours with this compensation plan, they receive overtime pay, at a required time and a half wage.

Straight hourly compensation suits:

  • Low-paying jobs or entry level positions
  • Food and beverage industries
  • Businesses with non-consistent employee schedules
  • Employees with flexible schedules (students who work part-time or people who only work weekends)

Hourly compensation can be a competitive advantage depending on the starting wage. Non-exempt employees are eligible for raises and overtime pay, making it a great compensation plan for people looking for extra cash.

Want Help Creating a Compensation Plan That Suits Your Organization’s Needs?

If you need help creating a compensation plan that improves the relationship between employee retention and compensation, AAIM is the place for you.

Not only do we develop customized compensation surveys, but we also:

  • Help your company improve existing compensation plans
  • Offer market data relevant to your industry
  • Implement compensation strategies that increase competitive advantages
  • Ensure employees are paid fairly
  • Employee retention techniques

Contact us today to improve your employee retention and compensation plan.

Understanding common compensation and benefits issues is the first step in overcoming them. Keep reading to learn more about compensation problems and the importance of proper benefits.

Top 5 Compensation and Benefits Issues To Consider

Managing compensation and benefits in a competitive, ever-changing industry can feel overwhelming. HR professionals must determine the proper pay and benefits to recognize employees’ talent and hard work.

If you want to stand out from the crowd and impress potential employees, you need to tackle the following compensation policy issues within your business:

Competition From Similar Companies

Similar companies target the same potential new hires. Smaller businesses struggle with offering the same benefits and compensation as larger businesses since they have smaller budgets.

If you’re running a new business, you may face similar challenges that SMBs do. Luckily, there are other ways to leverage your company’s competitive advantage, but we’ll touch on that later.

Smaller Budgets

You could face budget issues even if you run a large corporation. You pay your existing employees and rent for your office space while investing in company culture and benefits. It can be challenging to find the budget to compete with other businesses in your industry, especially with labor shortages.

Many businesses are fighting for new hires in the post-pandemic world. Employees want good pay, paid time off, and benefits. With a smaller budget, you may struggle to attract the same type of talent that other businesses do.

Employee Expectations

There’s typically a gap between what employees expect to be paid and what employers want to pay them. Most employees don’t consider benefits as part of their compensation; they’re looking at the net pay they’re taking home. 

Consider providing a total compensation statement to your employees that includes a breakdown of all of their compensation methods. This statement provides transparency and a thorough explanation of how you’re compensating employees. 

Meeting employee expectations can sometimes be out of your budget, or maybe what they’re expecting isn’t something you’ve previously considered. Luckily, there are ways to bridge the gap between your and the employees’ expectations. We’ll dive deeper into this soon!

Internal Inequity

Pay reviews and compensation surveys often highlight inequities within your organization’s compensation rates. Your company might have an unnoticed wage gap, especially if you’ve been in business for a while. Over time, starting pays change, and existing employees aren’t always included in those changes.

Ensure your employees in similar positions make a comparable salary and get the same benefits. Otherwise, you could upset your workforce if they discover wage gaps. Keep in mind that pay equity discrepancies, especially between males and females, may create morale and legal issues that you want to avoid.

Executive Salaries

Another common compensation and benefits issue is managing executive salaries. This compensation problem mainly affects large public corporations required to reveal executive salaries.

If executive salaries take up too much of your budget or job candidates disapprove of their salaries, you may have trouble attracting employees. Consider limiting executive base salaries, and offer bonuses/incentives tied to your executive performance.

How To Solve Common Compensation and Benefits Issues

Compensation administration in HRM (human resource management) is complicated and ever-changing. The following solutions can help you solve any compensation problems you may come across:

Compensation Survey

Use compensation surveys to compare your current business practices and policies to the best industry practices of similar companies.

These surveys help you gather data on:

  • Compensation
  • Benefits
  • Policies
  • HR practices

Compensation surveys are an excellent strategy if you want to know what competitors are paying their employees. After gathering your data, adjust your compensation and benefit plans as necessary. 

Compensation surveys are an efficient tool for small businesses that want to see how they compare to similar organizations. They also help you see where other businesses are lacking and what you can do to increase your competitive advantage. Select survey reports that reflect your company’s industry, size, and jobs.

Compensation Planning

Create a robust compensation plan to combat common compensation problems. A plan prepares you for future compensation and benefits issues and creates a consistent and fair compensation strategy. Your compensation plan should support:

  • Your company’s business techniques and brand
  • Operating objectives
  • Employee needs/standards

There are three types of compensation plans:

  1. Straight salary
  2. Salary plus commission/incentive
  3. Straight hourly

Choose a plan that suits the size of your business and the industry it’s in. If most competitors offer a straight salary, it might be good to follow suit to keep up with industry trends and employee needs

Competitive Wages

Competitive pay is an effective differentiation strategy that helps meet employee expectations. This type of pay is comparable to competitors in the same market and is equal to or above standard industry salary.

Outsourcing An HR Team

No one understands compensation and benefits issues like HR professionals. Your compensation strategies stay organized and on top of trends with an outsourced HR team.

HR experts can increase competitive advantages for small and large businesses. Even if you run an SMB with a smaller budget, HR professionals can find solutions that fit your needs and budget. Outsourced teams also develop effective compensation strategies, plans, and surveys, so you can stand out in the job market.

Solve Your Compensation Policy Issues With AAIM’s Help

AAIM is an industry-leading HR provider that offers innovative compensation solutions to attract and retain employees.

Since 1898, we’ve helped businesses of all sizes reorganize their HR department and improve efficiency. Leave your compensation and benefits issues in the past when you partner with us. We create customized plans that suit your business’s unique needs and help attract talent.

Let us manage your:

While you focus on daily operations and the success of your business. Contact us today to learn more about our compensation solutions.

Consider sending out internal company surveys to give your employees an effective tool to speak their minds.

What Is an Internal Company Survey?

Be honest—do you know what your employees are thinking? Many employees are uncomfortable or scared to share their honest opinions. According to a Quantum Workplace study, about 50% of employees don’t speak their minds to their managers. But why?

Because they aren’t given the opportunity to do so. Most employees won’t march up to their managers and give them unprovoked feedback. Give them a space to provide feedback safely and professionally by using internal company surveys.

Internal company surveys, also called company climate surveys, are questionnaires given to employees to get genuine feedback. These surveys are often anonymous to protect the identity of your employees, so they feel more comfortable being honest. 

Benefits of implementing internal company surveys include:

  • Improved communication between employees and managers
  • Healthier work environment
  • Improved employee satisfaction
  • Positive work culture

Employee Surveys Best Practices

Develop effective employee surveys with the following best practices:

Keep Questions and Surveys Short

Keep your questions and surveys shorter in length. Employees have a lot on their plate, and if you send them an hour-long survey every quarter, they most likely won’t complete it. Plus, most people spend less than 1/4th the time per question on long surveys since they have more questions to answer, so their responses might not represent what they truly feel.

Keep your questions short to keep your employees engaged. Studies show that when internal company surveys take 20 minutes or less to complete, the results are more substantial and accurate.

Ensure Anonymity and Confidentiality

Remind your employees that work environment surveys are anonymous and confidential. Employees may not share their opinions if they think multiple departments or employees will be looking at their responses.

Anonymous surveys have traditionally given more accurate results than identifiable surveys. If you want honest employee opinions, allow them to complete the survey without identifying themselves. Then, make sure everything stays confidential by not sharing the answers with anyone outside HR or other relevant departments.

Establish Clear Objectives and Appreciation

Say what the purpose of the company climate survey is at the beginning of it. No one wants to complete a survey without knowing why they need to.

Explain that you’ll use the survey results to improve the company culture and employee experience. Reiterate that you value their responses, and thank them in advance for completing the survey.

Establishing the purpose of the internal company survey motivates employees to take it. One study showed that only 36% of employees are engaged, so if you’re not giving them a reason to take part in your survey, they likely won’t do so. If you explain that the survey results will help the company improve, they’ll feel better about taking it.

Review and Audit Your Survey Measures

After employees complete the survey, review and audit the results for accuracy and completion. Take note of the percentage of employees that completed the survey, and make sure no questions were missed.

Implement Changes Relevant to Surveys

After reviewing the internal company survey results, start implementing the changes employees want. Employees won’t continue completing the surveys if no action is taken.

If 60% of employees answered “Unsatisfied” on a question regarding the amount of PTO they have, talk with your team about increasing PTO. Act on the answers of your employees to keep them satisfied.

Partner With an Outsourced HR Provider

Some HR providers develop internal company surveys for you. They have experience working with different businesses and know what questions to ask to get the answers you need.

You might not know which employee survey questions to include or how to format them, but an HR professional can create questions that target specific aspects of your business you’re curious about. Your HR partner can develop:

What Are the Different Types of Internal Company Surveys?

There are two main types of internal company surveys that focus on different parts of your company:

Opinion and Engagement Surveys

Opinion and engagement are satisfaction surveys that allow your employees to shape the future and success of your business. These surveys include questions regarding:

  • Career growth and professional development
  • Individual needs
  • Benefits (PTO, sick days, insurance)
  • Trust in leadership
  • Team efficiency
  • Manager effectiveness

After asking about these topics, add a section where employees can leave additional comments about aspects not covered in the survey. This is the space for employees to give personal feedback or constructive criticism of your business.

Compensation Surveys

Use compensation surveys to understand the current salaries of all employees and if they’re satisfied with that pay. Use the results to compare your business’s compensation to companies similar in size and industry.

These surveys guide your future compensation efforts and allow you to pay your employees a fair wage or salary.

How Can I Create Effective Internal Company Surveys?

Partner with AAIM for all of your internal company survey needs. We have over 120 years of experience developing company climate surveys and implementing employee survey best practices.

Our team creates customized, confidential surveys for our members that help you understand the effectiveness of your:

As a third-party HR company, we provide unbiased and accurate survey results. We’ve got you covered whether you need compensation surveys or a comprehensive survey with closed-ended questions. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of an AAIM membership and our survey services.


Nearly 94% of employees find companies that offer additional development training more appealing. If your business doesn’t provide employee development opportunities, you could lose quality job candidates.

What Is the Importance of Training Programs for Employees?

Employee training and development provides the skills your team members need to create a positive work environment. There are several purposes of training and development for organizations:

Improves Employee Performance

When you focus on employee development, you’re coaching them for peak performance. Everyone wants to do their job well. When you give them the tools to do so, they feel prepared for their role.

When you don’t adequately train employees, they get frustrated because they can’t complete the tasks expected of them. Implementing employee development programs increases your team’s confidence, improves their motivation, and equips them with diverse skills.

Attract Quality Employee Candidates

You’re more likely to attract high-quality candidates when you train your employees well. 

People enjoy working for companies that value their employees’ development. When you promote your employee development programs, you tell potential hires that you value their growth.

Increase Employee Retention

Encouraging your employees to grow within your company inspires and motivates them to stay with your company. Businesses with robust learning cultures typically increase retention rates by 30% to 50%, as they feel like their employer values their growth.

People want to work for companies that encourage them. It’s rare for employees to stay in the same position in the same company forever. By teaching employees new skills, you’re offering them techniques that could benefit their future roles and inspiring them to consider other positions within the company.

When employees stay within the company, your retention rate increases; therefore, employee development must be a high priority.

Enhance Employee Engagement

Employee development is often a collaborative process that encourages people to work together. When employees engage in conversations and training programs with their colleagues, they view them as fun tasks to complete with like-minded individuals.

Your employees want to be engaged in their work, or else they’ll get bored. By implementing an employee development plan, you encourage employees to work together to create a productive and engaging work environment.

Different Types of Employee Development Programs

Online Conflict Training

Online conflict training helps prevent conflicts before they arise to maintain a supportive and productive workplace. Employee conflicts distract those involved and those around them by creating unnecessary drama.

Online conflict training programs give your employees the interpersonal skills to deescalate workplace arguments. No one wants to work in a place with constant conflicts because it’s distracting and frustrating. 

When you provide conflict development training, you show your workers that you value their productivity and safety in the workplace.

Soft Skills Training

Soft skills training focuses on developmental skills, including:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Problem solving
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Taking initiative

These are the skills of a well-rounded team member. You want your employees to be able to solve conflict, communicate effectively, and act as leaders in the workplace. With soft skills training, you teach your employees how to become the best versions of themselves.

Workforce Skills Training

Whether you’re hiring a skilled professional or college graduate, you need to implement workforce development to ensure the versatility and adaptability of your employees.

Workforce training includes:

  • Motivation skills
  • Stress and time management
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Building relationships
  • Challenging discussions

Providing workforce learning and development encourages employees to bring their best self to work.

How Can I Create an Employee Development Plan?

Now that you’ve learned about the importance of employee development, you may be wondering how you can implement new development programs and enhance existing ones.

AAIM is a trusted human resources team that helps develop engaging and high-quality employee training programs. We provide customized training programs for businesses of all sizes because we understand the importance of employee development.

We have you covered, from soft skills training to coaching for peak performance. Our training programs include:

You’ll enhance your employees’ knowledge and skills with us as your HR partner. Contact us today to become a member and improve employee development.

Integrated HR Systems Explained

Integrated HR systems merge your HR functions into simplified human resource management platforms. Having all HR functions on centralized platforms simplifies your HR process and increases workforce management.

Some of the functions you can integrate are:

  • Payroll and benefits
  • Employee data
  • Compliance forms
  • Paperwork portals
  • Applicant tracking

Five Benefits of Integrated HR Systems

Upgrading to  integrated HR systems helps your company in many ways:

Customizable HR System

With integrated HR systems, you get to pick and choose which aspects of technology you want to use. You’re able to create different packages based on your needs, and you can add new systems, like a payroll application, to your integrated platform if you want. 

Integrated HR systems are budget friendly and entirely based on your needs. You can implement an onboarding platform, background screening platform, and applicant tracking system when you integrate your HR systems.

Improved Employee Experience

Employees benefit from integrated HR systems because their information, including onboarding paperwork, applicant tracking, and background screening is hosted through compatible technology systems. Paperwork is much easier to fill out with these HR systems

Plus, if employees manage all of their information through online portals, their overall experience as your employee improves, thereby increasing employee retention. Both you and your employees reap the benefits of an integrated human resource system.

Mobile-Friendly Integrated HR Systems

With technology constantly evolving, mobile-friendly HR applications are beneficial for your HR system. Mostly everyone has a phone, and user-friendly platforms increase your employees’ experience with your HR systems.

Your team will realize how simple it is to update their onboarding information, access their applicant tracking system, and complete background checks using the device they use every day.

Increased Compliance

Employment laws are constantly changed or tweaked, and it’s important to stay up to date with your corresponding forms, so your business stays compliant with relevant regulations. 

Integrated technology solutions will automatically update your forms and alert HR individuals of the new forms available.

Integrate Your Payroll Management

Payroll information is typically held on a separate platform, making it harder to access since it’s separate from other HR systems. With an integrated approach, you have the ability to link with other payroll providers, like ADP, Paycor, or whatever provider you prefer.

What Features Should My Integrated HR Systems Have?

When choosing your integrated HR system, it’s important to check for key features that benefit you in the long run. These features include:

  • Dashboard functions that organize employee information
  • Applicant tracking system
  • Job postings
  • Onboarding paperwork
  • Compliant forms
  • Background checks
  • Payroll management integrations
  • Mobile friendly platforms

Make sure your integrated HR systems have all the benefits you need to keep your HR department running smoothly. 

Where Can I Get Started?

AAIM provides companies with quality integrated HR systems with all the features you’re looking for so you can improve your HR department today! With over 120 years of experience, we promise to get you on the right page.

AAIM’s HR systems are customizable and based on your business’s needs. We aren’t a one-size-fits-all integrated HR provider—we know that every company has its own HR requirements. 

AAIM offers integrated solutions that allow your organization to select the pieces that work for you. From starting with AAIMTrack, initiating the background through AAIMCheck to initiating the onboarding process through Onboard EXP with mere clicks of a button, we’ve made it easier than ever to hire your next excellent employee!

AAIM also provides a strict process through Professional Background Screens (PBSA), and we are 1 of 120+ holding this accreditation. We also educate and advise clients on best practices to implement an added level of security

Let us help you complete the next step after your integrated HR systems are implemented. AAIM assists you with:

  • Executive and management coaching
  • Computer training
  • Talent management
  • Team building
  • Sales training
  • Compensation strategies and surveys
  • Leadership training

Reach out to an AAIM professional today and discover the benefits of becoming a member.

Do colds and the flu spread through your organization quicker than an all-office memo? The flu cost U.S. employers over $21 billion in lost productivity during the 2017–2018 flu season, according to an estimate from Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. As an employer, you play a big role in keeping your staff healthy during flu season.

The practices you put in place for office cleaning and workplace hygiene will be crucial to keeping your staff healthy. While no office is ever truly “flu-proof,” a proactive approach to cleaning and hygiene will dramatically reduce the risk of an office-wide case of the flu.

Here are some strategies to keep you and your workforce healthy during this dreaded season:

Get the Flu Shot

The best way to protect yourself from catching the flu in the workplace is to get a flu vaccine every year. Experts estimate that getting the flu vaccine can lower your risk of being hospitalized from the flu by as much as 40%.

Prevent the spread of infection at work.

  1. Wash your hands – Our hands are constantly being contaminated through interactions with co-workers, eating, touching shared surfaces and equipment. Use soap and water to wash your hands frequently throughout the day. If your organization does not have hand sanitizer readily available, it can be helpful to carry a pocket-sized sanitizer with you.
  2. Clean shared surfaces with disinfectant – Wipe down shared surfaces like doorknobs, keyboards and phones with a disinfectant wipe or spray.
  3. Avoid shaking hands – Although this is a common greeting, it’s not the most sanitary (particularly during flu season). Since most healthy adults can infect others before their own symptoms develop, you could be passing the flu onto someone else without even realizing you have the flu yet.

Make sure sick employees stay home.

When we are in our work spaces – whether it be an office, cubicle, classroom or factory, we’re in very close proximity to our coworkers. That’s why prevention is so important. Many employees don’t feel comfortable using their sick days and will try to “tough it out,” but it’s your job as a leader to make sure employees know they should stay home when they’re contagious.

Make It Your Business to Fight the Flu

Workplaces can be a breeding ground for contagious diseases like the flu, especially with the of open floor plans, shared devices and workers who fear repercussions if they miss work. Employers have a real opportunity to influence the health & wellness of their employees through a proactive approach.

Lack of advancement opportunity is one of the top reasons why professionals leave their jobs. A recent survey of exiting workers found that more than half said their manager or organization could have done something to prevent them from leaving. Many reported that in the months prior to their departure, no one had spoken to them about job satisfaction or their future.

With a tight labor market, it only makes sense to ensure that learning, development and growth are embedded into your employees’ career paths. Although most organizations associate onboarding with new hires, continuous onboarding shows a commitment to investing in all employees, both new and old.

Create a Continuous Onboarding Roadmap for the First Year

When we talk about continuous onboarding, we’re not referring to refreshing existing employees’ knowledge of internal policies. Continuous onboarding should be a personalized program that is focused on career progression and development. It would be nearly impossible for you to map out the details of every single milestone for every single employee, but with a standard framework as a guide, you’ll be able to sit down with your employee and discuss their continuous onboarding plan.

Make Career Development a Priority with Regularly Scheduled Check-Ins

An employee’s plan should never be dictated to them. If your goal is to reduce turnover and improve retention, then the plan should really be created with their input. Ask them what their goals are, what kind of growth opportunities they want, and then finalize the plan together. This empowers your employees to shape their own paths and spells out exactly what is expected.

Employees are craving meaningful and regular conversations around career development. Although it gets easy to prioritize other meetings so you can address fire drills and other impromptu needs, it’s important to keep regularly scheduled check-ins.

Things come up and you sacrifice the check-ins because “there is always tomorrow or next week.” Don’t fall into this trap. Consider these meetings unmovable and do your best to always show up on time.

Want to know more about how AAIM can support your organization?

We work with companies to understand and integrate their organization’s culture and determine their specific training needs. Through our practical approach, employees develop skills they can put to use quickly and effectively.

Our organizational development specialists develop instructor-led training, web-based training materials, video training programs and e-learning programs. We follow a collaborative process that ensures that companies’ leadership teams are involved in the development process and that we produce a high-quality course with their approval and satisfaction at each phase of the project. AAIM has been helping employers across our operating region build a better workforce for nearly 120 years.

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As Labor Day approaches and summer comes to an end, now is the time to update your Employee Handbooks to ensure compliance with the ever-changing employment law landscape. As you begin the project of creating or updating your company’s employee handbook, here are some things to keep in mind.

Create an Outline

Before you begin creating or updating your employee handbook, start off by creating a list of important policies that you know you’ll want to include. As you’re creating a list, do some research with:

  • Company Employees. Reach out to new and seasoned employees. Ask them, “What do they wish they had known when they were hired?”
  • Plan providers. What are the most frequently asked questions? What can your company do a better job of communicating?
  • Company Programs. What is working well? What isn’t? Are their programs that your employees do not know about because they haven’t been communicated very well?
  • Employee surveys or questionnaires. Do you have any procedures or programs that are misunderstood?
  • Senior managers. What do they want every employee to know? Is there a common issue that seems to be driving everyone crazy?

Begin Gathering Content for your 2020 Employee Handbook

Now that you have established a checklist of important information that you’d like to include in your handbook, it’s time to start gathering content. An employee handbook typically covers Human Resources policies on dress code, office access, anti-harassment, confidential information, payroll information, benefits, holidays, Paid Time Off (PTO) and more.

Although most of this information will come from the Human Resources department, it is a good idea to consult other departments. They may have valuable information to contribute that will help your employees know what to do in a variety of situations. For example, if your employees use a computer or company provided phone as a part of their job, consider adding policies from your IT Department about Password Protocol and Social Networking.

Create a Table of Contents

After you have finished gathering your content, now you will need to organize it. It is helpful to create a detailed list of contents at the front of the handbook. Don’t just list “Benefits,” list specifics like “Short Term Disability” or “Bereavement Time” with a page number (if your handbook is in print) or link.

If your handbook is in print, consider including an index at the back of the book. Although many people will go to the table of contents to find a topic, about half will check the back of the book for the index. That’s why it’s important to have both in your handbook, so you’re making it easy for everyone to find what they’re looking for.

Tips for Implementing New or Changing Employee Handbook Policies

HR Daily Advisor recommends using several channels for communicating and disseminating the updated handbook. This could include a mass staff email with a link to the new material, a post on the company’s intranet system, or even a post in the break room to ensure workers are aware. Consider highlighting where updates or changes to the handbook have been made and how they differ from what was in place in the past.

Download AAIM’s 2020 Employee Handbook Checklist.

Many small and medium-sized businesses do not have a focus on diversity and inclusion within their organizations.  Most do not have any internal Human Resources position not to mention a role focused on diversity.  This type of effort for smaller businesses is usually led by a “leader” who determines why it is important for the organization and decides to champion this effort.

We here at AAIM have been helping businesses do just that, and while each organization’s journey is unique, there are shared themes related to the approaches that gain energy.  Essentially, diversity among employees means establishing a mix that reflects the cultural differences of customers, clients, and your organization’s overall audience.

While diversity is the “what”, inclusiveness is the “how” and refers to the ongoing activity as businesses adjust their behaviors, practices, and environment to incorporate diversity in all its forms.

Aside from being morally right, why should small businesses incorporate diversity and inclusion?  The clear answer is that if you get diversity and inclusion right in your organization, you stand to make considerable business gains no matter how big or small your business is.

 Here are 7 ways to start infusing D&I into the fabric of your organizational culture:

    1. Literally, write a diversity and inclusion statement into your business core values. This demonstrates to your external and internal customers that you are not only serious but sincere.
    2. Nothing will be successful without a plan. However, keep in mind that this is a long-term commitment- not an immediate win.
    3. Ask what regular meetings, events, and training does the business need?
    4. Address the “elephants in the room” – the unconscious biases that staff may have that will influence their ability to implement diversity and inclusion initiatives at work.
    5. Ensure that Team Leaders understand the “why”. It is essential that these behaviors and values are embraced from the top down.
    6. Evaluate recruitment efforts, onboarding sessions, marketing pieces, and promotion and disciplinary practices to echo the commitment to diversity and inclusion.
    7. Communicate! Spend time together! Listen to one another!  Team Build! Get to know the cultural backgrounds of your team!

Creating a better understanding is key.  There is a lot to gain by committing to drive diversity and inclusion as core values and behaviors in your business. Job satisfaction equals better business results.

For a more in-depth look at the subject, CLICK HERE to get more information about and sign up for “Developing a Diversity Initiative Plan”

When was the last time that you walked out of a place where you do business and thought, “Now that is how a company should treat people”? When you encounter a genuine, caring culture, you don’t soon forget the experience. You find yourself replaying that great experience in your mind and you feel compelled to tell your friends about your encounter with that outstanding organization.

Why is that? It’s because a culture that truly puts People First is so rare that it might well be regarded as an endangered species today.

When I throw out the phrase “outrageously engaged, people-loving culture,” what organizations come to mind? You might name Southwest Airlines, Chic-fil-A, or Ritz-Carlton. Whoever you’d identify as the exemplar of a world-class performance culture, the more challenging question you should ask is: What kind of culture have you created in the organization you serve? Have you, as a business leader, created the best possible caring culture for your company—one that enables you to attract and retain the best and the brightest people?

Every member of your staff is a walking billboard for your organization. If you are the leader, the company culture is, quite simply, a reflection of your philosophy about people. Everyone in your organization is the outliving of your in-living beliefs and values!

Let me ask you another question: Are you the kind of leader that all the people in a room light up and radiate pleasure when you enter the room? Or does that happy metamorphosis only occur when you walk out of the room? If you’re not sure how to answer that question, go take a walk through your building. Take a good look at the people. Is there life in your organization? Or do the people you encounter look like zombies? Have you assembled a collection of passionless performance puppets? Or do you have a team of powerful purpose partners? Is your team’s performance characterized by discretionary effort or malicious obedience?

A truism of nature is that everything reproduces after its own kind. Cows only reproduce more cows. Cows can’t reproduce cats, and cats don’t give birth to caterpillars. In the very same way, an impersonal leader can’t produce a personal culture. Aloof, autocratic leaders only reproduce after their own kind; they create cultures marked by close encounters of the impersonal kind.

By contrast, a People First culture is marked by laughter and love, engagement and encouragement, celebration and caring, empathy and empowerment, listening and learning. A People First Culture crackles with discretionary effort. There are millions of people who would gladly take a pay cut to be part of a culture that truly cared about who they are and celebrates their humanity, not merely measures their performance marks for the organization.

When you encounter a great culture you immediately feel it, see it, hear it, and trust it, because it is authentic. A great, life-giving culture engages you and makes certain you know that you are appreciated, honored, and valued. It is a culture based on truth, not built on technique. You can examine all sorts of theories about motivation—I’ve been a performance consultant for more than thirty years; believe me, there are hundreds of theories that have been developed during the last century! But virtually all of these are nothing more than techniques based in behavioral science. Putting People First, on the other hand, is based on the timeless truth about who people are. Putting People First is nothing more and nothing less than doing the right things for the right reasons.

Perhaps you’d like to build a culture like that in your organization, but you’re not sure quite how to do it. One of the most important business maxims I have ever learned is this: You can’t impart what you don’t possess! Conversely, you can only express what you possess! If you as a business leader don’t possess the fundamental definition of what a People First culture is, you won’t be able to create that which you don’t understand or value.

Herb Kelleher, co-founder and former CEO of Southwest Airlines, said “The intangibles are more important than the tangibles.” One of the major problems in business is that we’ve forgotten what it means to be human. Far too many business leaders were never taught it in the first place; they don’t have the slightest ideas what “the intangibles” are! If you are a leader and you don’t like the culture that you have created—either by design or by default—I have great news for you: you can change it! Let me suggest four things you can do to create a People First culture that will boost your productivity, revolutionize your referral business, and reduce your competition to irrelevancy.

  1. Believe that every human being—regardless of sex, color or creed—possesses exalted dignity, exalted worth, and an ocean of untapped potential. Believe that every person you meet is a walking marvel, a fascinating mystery, and an amazing miracle . . . just waiting for someone to listen to them and believe in them more than they believe in themselves.
  2. Conduct a cultural health assessment in your organization, in order to get an accurate read on the current beliefs concerning the condition of your culture.
  3. Empower everyone in your organization to become moment-by-moment, living, breathing examples of your company values, mission, and vision. Make it clear to everyone in your organization that there are no little people or little places; there are only BIG people in BIG places, because every single person on your staff is a steward of your ennobling and inspiring People First philosophy.
  4. Get to know everyone on a personal level. Discover who they are as human beings. Learn things about their families, hobbies, memberships in clubs, goals, strengths, and past accomplishments. Once you learn all of these wonderful things about them, you must never forget what you have learned. Use this wealth of personal information to forge lifelong, trust-based relationships. Constantly celebrate everyone on your staff for who you know them to be and encourage them for who you believe they can become. This creates a magnetic culture which will attract the world to this life-giving culture that your great team has created under your great leadership.

Perhaps you think I’m just sharing my theory on leadership. Let me assert that I am speaking the truth about what great leadership says and does. Mercer Consulting, which is widely regarded as one of the top human resources consultants in the world, recently released their What’s Working Survey. Employees in the United States ranked benefits and pay at #7 and #8 respectively in what creates a topflight work environment. “Being treated with respect” came in at #1—not only in the United States but in almost every region on the globe.

The Mercer survey reveals that the desire to work for an employer who puts People First is not a cultural desire; it’s a human desire. The more you work with human beings of all races, the more you see that people are all the same, and we all desire the same things. A few years ago I was invited to make a People First presentation to an audience of 6,000 in Moscow; despite the difficulty of speaking through an interpreter, I was still interrupted several times by thunderous applause. The applause wasn’t because of my ability as a speaker; the people were reacting to the message. The huge crowd responded because I honored, valued, and esteemed them as human beings who possess exalted dignity, exalted worth, and exalted potential.

The interpreter spoke to me afterward, and he was completely galvanized. He told me, “No one ever talks to us like this. No one talks about being a humble leader.” Everybody desires to be treated well. No one wants to be patronized or devalued.

It’s not hard to develop a great People First culture if you’ll take the time to study and understand human nature. Is it worth the effort? A few months after we presented our People First® Leadership program to a Fortune 500 organization, I received this letter from their Vice President of Communications: “We have seen some amazing results. Our employee retention rates have improved, our earnings have grown and our stock price has more than doubled! Jack, bottom line is that [we are] a stronger company because of you and your team.”

While I appreciate the kind words, I would submit that our client became a stronger company because they adopted the best business philosophy. Belief precedes behavior; philosophy precedes performance. If you introduce the philosophy of putting People First into your organization, you’ll soon see powerful performance as a result!


Jack Lannom is an author, consultant, and international speaker who has been engaging and inspiring audiences for more than 35 years. He has served as a corporate coach for several Fortune 500 companies, including AT&T, UPS, Kimberly-Clark, Ritz-Carlton, PepsiCo, Cleveland Clinic, and Chick-fil-A. Jack’s latest award-winning book is People First®—Achieving Balance in an Unbalanced World.