Yes, Virginia, The Spouse Matters

Our employees are the heart and soul of our company. We treat them like family because we’ve become family, and that extends to those our employees love most. You’re likely offering benefits to family members, but how else are you letting your employees know how much you care about their spouse and family? More importantly, does it really matter? The answer is a resounding yes. Not only does engagement of the employee’s spouse or partner matter, it could increase the employee’s engagement to your workplace.

I’m fortunate to cite personal research here; my dissertation at Georgia State focused specifically on the link between the spouse’s perceptions of your company and employee commitment. There is a link between the two. Spouses with higher perceptions of an organization tie directly to higher levels of employee commitment to the company. In a time where we look for creative ways to retain our best employees, we may need to look no further than the spouse and family.

There are a number of ways to implement practices engaging the family. On a new employee’s first day, why not send a letter to the spouse and children welcoming them, too? Or consider hosting a family day in the office to allow loved ones to come and see where the employee spends their time while at work. Other suggestions include creating a spouse committee. I’m aware of one firm who does this. They give the spouses a budget and ask them to organize a family event each year. HR loves it because someone else coordinates the event. The spouses love it because they choose something fun and meaningful to them.

As you consider your employee retention strategies, think about engaging the spouse and family. Their commitment could be the difference in an employee’s decision to stick around.