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Different employees need different incentives to keep them happy. I wish there were a guide. Any tips?

When you want to know what staff need, simply ask them. You can survey them by e-mail or other methods. Provide a list of options to select from and then review the responses. You can individualize this one step further, by asking each staff member to complete a favorites list. What is their favorite; color, snack, sport, hobby, etc. You can do something similar with a favorite motivator list.

Although some employee- and family-friendly policies may be fairly easy to implement, organizations must not lose sight of the bigger picture. In 2004, Accenture Consulting surveyed 1,501 recent college graduates to find out what they wanted more from their prospective new employers. Here's what they said:

  • Training programs: 71%
  • Fair compensation: 61%
  • Flexibile schedules: 59%
  • Approachable and available management: 55%
  • Ethical management: 48%
  • Mentorship programs: 45%
  • Social gatherings/events: 30%
  • Discounts at local shops: 23%
  • Telecommuting: 16%

—Shelley Cohen, RN, BS, CEN and Dennis Sherrod, EdD, RN, professor at Winston-Salem State University