How to Keep Small Business Employees On Board

By Joel Cuttiford

Small businesses often have to do additional work to keep their employees from being lured away by larger firms.  Here are four ways to retain them.

Offer perks
Smaller companies don’t always have the chance to give employees the fresh and exciting projects that bigger companies thrive on, but they often have the ability to allow their employees some freedom and flexibility regarding schedules.  Giving workers the chance to alter their schedules when necessary is a major perk, as they will be less stressed on and off the job and may complete more work during their shift due to added focus.  Establishing reasonable, universal limits to flextime will keep the business properly staffed.  Hosting parties and social events can also go a long way towards employee satisfaction, as creating a fun and positive environment will give employees another reason to want to come into work.

Show value
Employees want to feel like they are valued and cared about, and much of that stems from being treated like individuals instead of just workers.  A lot of this lies in having the opportunity to discuss their ideas and concerns with management.  An open-communication, open door policy demonstrates that employees’ needs matter to the company and will be addressed accordingly.  Sitting down with employees to check in with them on a regular basis will make them feel valued and keep them on track.  Recognizing exceptional work and showing appreciation for employees boosts both confidence and morale.  And on the most basic level, simply being kind makes a world of difference.  No one wants to go into the office to greet a gruff, unpleasant, or cold manager everyday.

Encourage growth
Today’s employees are increasingly focused on upward mobility and don’t want to feel trapped in a dead-end job.  Providing training and further education allows workers to grow in their field and achieve their personal and professional long-term goals.  Job duties can be adjusted according to employees’ strengths, many of which will develop due to extended learning.  Employees may sharpen their skills to the point where they actually outgrow their jobs, which may require new positions to be created.  But promoting from within can be cost effective, as new employees can be brought in at lower levels.

Incentive plans are a good way to keep employees on track to achieve their goals and those of the company.  Proper plans should allow them to track their progress regularly.  Sometimes, individual incentive plans are better than group plans, as the plan can be tailored to reward specific skills.  Bonuses and buy-ins are good options for incentivizing staff, but many workers need more than just money to keep them in their current jobs.  Providing good benefits and wellness plans establish that the company is concerned with employee health and cares about the well being of its people.  Additionally, company membership programs such as discount dining cards or reduced-price event tickets make the staff feel rewarded for their efforts at work and encourage them to enjoy their leisure time.



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