The economy is starting to heat up across many sectors. While economic improvement provides opportunities, small businesses are facing the increasing challenge of hiring and retaining talented employees.
Why is it imperative to retain your best people? People are the foundation of every successful business. The importance of each employee is even greater within small businesses, especially for those who have felt the pain of losing top talent. Finding a replacement that you trust can be a timely and expensive proposition.
So what can you do to motivate and retain employees?
Find the right recipe. There isn’t one right answer. It’s important to find a “recipe” of benefits and culture that make employees feel secure and empowered. Traditional motivators such as time-off, healthcare benefits, and flexibility of scheduling are a good start. Don’t underestimate the small things either. Small investments by the business can have large effects on employees. Simple recognition of hard work goes a long way – saying “thank you” or expressing appreciation for a job well done. Wellness programs and the opportunity for community involvement can also build camaraderie and loyalty.
Demonstrate opportunity for professional advancement. Beyond simple benefits, many are motivated by the opportunity for new challenges and professional growth. Employees should understand their opportunities and how to advance within the company.
Eliminate uncertainty. While running a small business can be stressful, it’s important to understand that working for a small business can be stressful as well. Uncertainty is a driving force that makes people look elsewhere, whether it’s uncertainty regarding their individual future with the company or uncertainty about the company as a whole.
There are many things business owners can do to dispel uncertainty such as communicating openly with employees. Consider discussing recent accomplishments and successes of the organization or emphasizing the connection between employee success and company success.
Personal interaction is essential. For smaller business owners, simple face to face interaction is indispensable. Showing personal interest goes a long way in telling employees that their efforts are valued.
How can you evaluate your employee retention efforts? Do some research and see how your compensation and other benefits measure up. If they are lacking, find a good partner who knows the ins and outs of employee motivation, incentives, and retention. If you find that your plan is superior to the competition, proactively communicate the benefits of working for your company.
All in all, employees want to know that you appreciate their hard work and the contribution they make to your business.