Finding and training the right employees requires time and money. After you’ve invested the resources and effort to bring the right people on board, the last thing you want is for them to leave you high and dry.
Regrettably, there’s a good chance that they might. Approximately one-third of new hires quit their jobs after just six months. Employee retention can be a challenge—especially for small business owners who neither have the deep pockets to pay as handsomely as some big corporations nor provide the same level of benefits and other incentives.
Although it may be difficult for your business to keep up with the Joneses from a monetary standpoint alone, you can implement some strategies to provide value to employees in other ways.
Engage and ask for feedback!
Demonstrate that you value their input by asking for their feedback on opportunities and challenges that they observe. This doesn’t mean you have to act on every suggestion made, but it will foster an culture of open communication and collaboration. By encouraging their ideas and feedback, employees will feel more engaged and invested in your success.
Offer flexibility in their work schedule and location.
If possible, provide opportunities to adjust their regular work schedules and where they report to work. Flex-time and telecommuting can help lower the stress employees feel when juggling personal and professional obligations. It may also enable you to reduce some of your office overhead costs in the process.
If that’s not feasible, consider allowing flexibility to accommodate unexpected situations. For example, if an employee’s child is ill, you might give the OK for that team member to work from home or come to your business after hours when the employee’s partner can take over on the home front. In the case of positions that require availability during specific hours (customer service reps, servers, etc.), consider allowing for employees to switch shifts with other employees when the need arises. The key is to set clear expectations and guidelines so that your flexibility serves both your employees and your business.
Provide perks and pleasant surprises.
Little things can make a big difference in how employees view their work environment. Delighting your team members with small tokens of appreciation will garner goodwill and show you care.
A few employee appreciation and recognition ideas that don’t cost a bundle include:
- Celebrate employees’ birthdays with cake and ice cream.
- Write “thank you” notes (even if only on sticky notes) for a job well done.
- Bring bagels, pizza, or some other treat to the office every Friday or another day of the week.
- Act spontaneously by letting employees leave an hour early so that they can get outside and enjoy a beautiful day.
Give back together.
Facilitate a sense of community by coming together as a team to rally behind a worthy cause. Involve your employees in helping you choose a charitable organization your business will support, and then enlist their help in planning how you will do that. Depending on the cause, it might take the form of a food or coat drive, donating a percentage of a product’s proceeds to a nonprofit, or collecting supplies for a local pet shelter. Regardless of the cause, you and your employees will have an opportunity to bond as you contribute to making life better for others in the community.
Resources to Help Evaluate and Improve Your Employee Retention
Enlisting the help of a human resources consultant can shed light on what you can do to make your business a place employees will want to stay for the long term. Also, remember that SCORE is here with mentors who have expertise in all aspects of starting and running a business, including hiring and retaining employees. Contact us today! Meeting with SCORE mentors is free, confidential, and it can provide valuable guidance to help your business succeed.