One of the most valuable aspects of operating a successful business is having a solid team in place. Recruiting qualified candidates will always play an important role in the overall success of the company, but in the modern business environment, keeping those valued employees on board deserves considerable attention.
Employee turnover can have a significant impact on small businesses, costing anywhere from one-half to two times the annual salary of a lost employee. This can also prevent businesses from meeting their goals and weaken team morale.
There are some beneficial strategies small businesses can implement to avoid losing valued employees. Here are some of the top employee retention strategies that small businesses can employ to boost retention.
Show Employees Appreciation and Recognition
Showing employee appreciation is one of the most powerful ways small businesses can improve workforce retention. A study cited by Forbes found that 66 percent of employees say they would quit their job if they felt under-appreciated.
One way of accomplishing this is by celebrating milestones such as yearly anniversaries. Harvard Business Review found in a comprehensive study involving more than a million people, that most of the workers who change jobs do so within the first year, with resignation spiking around work anniversaries.
Some ways that businesses can acknowledge work anniversaries include sending email announcements to the company and holding informal parties or other celebrations.
Another successful approach is recognizing employees when they do something outstanding for the company. Acknowledging it publicly not only gives the outstanding employee credit but also demonstrates to others that the company notices great results and hard work. Where appropriate, tangible awards can also be offered as a sign of appreciation.
Provide In-Office Perks
Another way small businesses can retain employees is by offering meaningful perks that can improve their quality of life at work. Many of these will not cost a small business very much money.
For example, you could install a high-end coffee machine and stock it with gourmet coffee; if your budget is smaller, consider regularly stocking a few treats such as coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and snacks. You could also place an air hockey table or other small games in the break room in order for employees to debrief for a few minutes without leaving the office.
Some companies are occasionally permitting employees to bring their pets to the office, while others are using summer hours which allow employees to leave earlier on Fridays during the warmer months. Setting specific days of the month to bring in treats such as donuts, can also help boost morale. Paid days off on employees’ birthdays is another small perk that can really help workers feel more appreciated.
Set Clear Expectations
Many employees report that they do not have a clear idea of what is expected of them at work; this can make it difficult for them to meet objectives. It also makes them feel lost and incapable, and will likely spur them to seek alternative employment. Therefore, it is important to set clear expectations for your staff.
Establish which projects are most important and be upfront about when work is due. If necessary, provide guidance on quality as well. Be sure to set goals that are both measurable and attainable, setting milestones for longer-term goals that align with the overall strategy of the company as a whole. When goals are achievable, understandable, and measurable, both you and your employees can track progress easily and ensure everyone understands what to expect.
Offer Advancement Opportunities
Developing a path for employees to grow their careers and be promoted is one of the best employee retention strategies for small businesses. Although there may not be a lot of room for promotion in certain small companies, especially in cases where the path to advancement depends on other employees’ career movements, strong performers can always be given more responsibilities as a way of growing their career.
You can offer them additional experience, such as the opportunity to learn new skills, or set aside part of your budget to send the best employees to seminars or conferences as an investment in their professional development. This demonstrates to hard-working employees that the business views them as key players on the team and is willing to invest in them.
Another positive approach is career mentorship. By acknowledging that standout employees are special and devoting time and energy to guiding their career path, you can motivate them to stay on board in the long term.
Enhance Benefits and Compensation
Although small businesses may not necessarily want employees who focus only on dollar amounts, it is imperative to offer a fair salary that aligns with the value created by the employees. Therefore, it can be helpful to audit salaries on a regular basis to ensure they reflect the current market conditions.
If you find that your salaries are under market, it may be time to adjust the pay. Although this may not appear to be easy for a small business to manage, it can save money in the long run by keeping valuable employees on board and eliminating the expenses involved in recruiting and training.
Salary is not the only motivating factor in employee compensation. Offering attractive benefits can go a long way toward increasing satisfaction. Good benefits can give employees access to resources that they may otherwise not have been able to afford, and may even provide your small business some tax advantages.
While health insurance and paid vacation time have long been popular benefits, many companies are finding that modern employees are increasingly motivated by unconventional benefits. This gives workers a sense of independence and can even increase their overall productivity. Such benefits growing in popularity include the ability to work from home either part time or full time, and flexible working hours that enable employees to schedule their working schedule around family commitments and commuting issues.
Contact the Experienced Benefits Consultants
Small businesses have many tools at their disposal to help them retain top-performing employees. For assistance developing retention strategies that can drive your business to greater success, contact the benefits consultants at Business Benefits Group (BBG) today.