Retaining good employees can be a tricky task — especially for small business owners who feel like the carrots they offer their workforce aren’t of the same size, quality and variety as those being offered at larger companies. But providing the kind of work environment where hard-working people feel rewarded and invested in is something any business can do, regardless of size and quarterly earnings. If you’ve had some valuable team members jump ship recently, it may be time to retool the way your small business holds on to good people. Here are six practices your business should implement so you can keep a hold of good employees longer.
One of the most prominent complaints among departing employees is that their boss or manager was an ineffective or poor communicator. If you or anyone on your management team isn’t able to address employees in a respectful, open manner or communicate expectations clearly, you’ll eventually lose employees who want to work in an environment where they know what’s expected of them and where they know they’ll be spoken to with kindness and consideration. In all communication with your staff, you and your management team should aim at being clear, humble and receptive.
You Offer Good Benefits
Offering your team a competitive benefits package does a lot more than just get them in the door. Good benefits also keep good employees happy in the jobs they’re doing for you right now. Don’t doubt that your employees hear regularly about other jobs’ benefits packages from their friends and families. They know which employers offer paid maternity leave and paid vacation. They know whether or not their co-pay is high. While it can seem like a stretch for a small business to offer extra bells and whistles in a benefits package, doing so will keep your best employees with you over the long haul.
The Work Environment Has Little Conflict
The largest source of stress in individuals’ lives across the United States is work-related, and much of that work-related stress is due to conflict between people. If there are people on your staff who routinely cause trouble, exude negativity or otherwise impact the overall atmosphere of your work environment in a deleterious way, be proactive about helping them improve their people skills. The less conflict your employees deal with on a regular basis, the more likely they are to be happy enough to stay.
You Pay Them Competitively — and Give Them Raises
Money is still the name of the game when it comes to keeping your employees around. If your pay scale isn’t at least competitive with other businesses in your locale and industry, you’re likely to lose employees to a fatter paycheck — especially if you don’t offer annual or performance-based raises. Research shows that employees who stay at the same job more than two years are likely to make 50 percent less over the course of their careers than employees who take a different job more regularly. Why? It’s because many companies have almost entirely nixed raises, so if your employees want a bigger paycheck, they have to go elsewhere to get it. Keep your employees working for you by offering them good pay and routine raises. If you don’t, you’re just going to have to eventually hire someone at a higher wage to replace him or her.
Your Company’s Culture Is in Line With Their Values
If you run a pesticide company, you’ll be hard-pressed to keep an employee who’s a staunch environmentalist. Sometimes, businesses and employees are simply not cut out for one another, but the ways a company’s culture is at odds with an employee’s values are usually more subtle than that. If the culture at your business isn’t open, honest, direct and people-centered, you’ll find it difficult to keep employees who are. Your company’s culture should embody the values you most desire in your employees. That way, the best interests of the company and its employees will be in line with one another, which will make retention a breeze.
The Work Is Enjoyable
Work can’t always be fun, but it should at least be enjoyable more often than it isn’t. Whether that enjoyment comes through co-worker interactions, company-sponsored events or the sheer pleasure and challenge of the day-to-day work itself doesn’t matter, but employees need to enjoy the time they’re putting in for you or they’re likely to be on the lookout for a different job where the enjoyment factor is more present.
You don’t have to have an on-site café or a ping-pong table to keep employees from taking jobs at other companies. By simply offering competitive wages, regular raises and a positive and enjoyable work environment, you’ll have no problem retaining the kinds of workers you need to keep being successful.