By: Kirti Kalra
Companies may have a poor return on their sponsorship investment if they have trouble retaining their L, H-1B, and other nonimmigrant employees. Many large and small corporations alike turn to their attorneys for creative ways to retain employees or at least recoup training expenses.
Attorneys may promote non-solicitation and liquidated damages clauses in employment contracts to scare employees into sticking around. While these clauses are important, a legal approach is not effective at combatting the so-called “great resignation.” Instead, retention strategies should include a focus on culture and meeting employee needs.
how do these contract clauses work?
Non-solicitation agreements are usually contracts between an employer and employee which dictate when the employee may solicit the company’s customers after their employment term ends. These agreements can protect a company’s legitimate business interests, such as business trade secrets and confidential information. Depending on your state, a non-solicitation agreement may need to meet certain standards to be enforceable.
Liquidated damages clauses protect employers if an employee violates the terms of their employment contract. Usually, the violating employee must pay a specified amount as outlined in the contract. The amount should represent an estimate of the damages the employer will sustain if the employee does not perform to an agreed upon standard.
While it may seem beneficial to protect your investment through legal channels, this approach is not always effective. Employers often spend more money on legal fees trying to resolve a case than the amount of money they would gain from the enforcement of a contract clause.
Secondly, management should ask whether they want to retain employees that do not want to work for them. Highly motivated and empowered employees are more likely to deliver a valuable work product.
changing company culture
Employees often leave their firms for higher salaries. Individuals interested in salary only will not stay at any company for very long, since there is always one company that can outdo another.
The solution lies in the culture of your work environment. Not treating your employee as a resource or a machine that produces the necessary product is a start. Employees do their best work when they are personally vested in the success of the company. The only way to get them personally vested in the company is to be vested in them—each one of them.
You must figure out what works for your employees. While some people need flexibility in their work hours to cater to their families, others prefer a work environment that is a fun and keeps them engaged. Some employees perform their best work on incentive bonuses, while others prefer a fixed salary without the pressure.
Even if most of your employees work at a client site or you manage a large firm, you must still learn to adapt to employee needs. Employees do not have to be in your building to show them that you support them in their endeavors. Do the work upfront and see what your employees require to do good work – beyond just the proper equipment – and always be willing to evolve to meet their changing needs. If your adaptability does not work for your employees, then let them go. Remember you do not want to retain employees that do not want to work for your company.
There is no formula for retaining an employee. You must listen to your employees’ needs and cater to them. Just think of all the money you will save in recruiting, training, and attorney fees.
For help sponsoring foreign national employees, protecting your company’s interests with legal clauses, and other case-specific questions, contact your trusted Chugh, LLP attorney.