Employee retention is one of the most important elements of success for a small business. After all, if you have just a few employees, they are likely wearing quite a few different hats. They have perfected the balance of everything they have to handle, and have become invaluable to your team.
If they leave, you have to spend precious time and resources on recruiting, onboarding and training. Whether you handle the training or another employee does, someone is missing time on sales, management or other tasks that are vital to your business’s success.
One of the easiest ways to avoid employee turnover is to make sure your workforce is satisfied with their jobs. Some turnover is inevitable; an employee with be offered their dream job, or be offered a position with benefits you simply can’t match. But there are a few ways you can keep your employees happy with their jobs. Here are three to consider:
Offer Training and Education
No matter your industry, there are always new skills and techniques to learn. Sure, you trained your employees when they were on boarded, but have they learned anything new recently? Even if you run a coffee shop, for example, employees using “latte art” and other skills can give you the edge over your competitors.
On a more basic level, teaching a cashier how to do things like use (and clean!) a cappuccino machine can create a more solid employee base who can cover each other’s shifts much more easily.
Plus, teaching employees new skills both gives them a sense of satisfaction in their career progression, while also showing you’re invested in their development.
Of course, teaching can be a hands-on experience, with you or a veteran employee teaching a less-experienced one how to perform certain tasks more effectively. But to stay on top of the newest innovations in the industry, it may be necessary to branch out. Depending on your field, there may be online courses and seminars employees can “attend.”
In some cases, you could partner with other local businesses and even community colleges to form mentorship partnerships.
Keep Pay Competitive
Competitive pay is much easier said than done for small businesses. You don’t have the bankroll that large corporations do to keep your employees wealthy.
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t pay your employees what they are worth. Passionate employees know they are at a small business with a limited salary cap (for now); instead, they are more focused on helping your business succeed.
Then you have the employees who are simply in a holding pattern until the next opportunity comes along. There is little you can do to keep the second group on board long-term, so instead, focus on your passionate employees.
As you train your employees and they show they can use their newly-learned skills to boost your profits, they should be rewarded as such.
This could mean annual/semi-annual reviews, commission on top of salaries or other payment systems. It also means offering higher-paying opportunities (whether a management position or a sale with a large commission) to employees with seniority first. When you can afford it, even a small bonus can keep employees happy and engaged.
Offer Benefits and Other Incentives
With premiums for those covered by the Affordable Care Act set to increase in 2017, many people are now looking for healthcare benefits through their employers. Though there are certain requirements that must be met before you are required to offer health insurance to your employees, if you can afford to do so, offer it anyway.
Small benefits like health and life insurance can be highly instrumental in keeping employees who may otherwise feel the need to find a job where such benefits are offered, even if they love working for you.
In addition, incentives like paid vacation and holidays can also keep your employees satisfied with their jobs. Though it may seem difficult to afford paying employees for days they aren’t working, it can be done easily with a bit of planning.
After all, if you set your payroll each month, regardless of whether your employees are going on vacation, factoring in paid time off simply doesn’t put too much of a dent in your budget. Even offering paid time off for issues like jury duty and bereavement can further your employee’s happiness in choosing to work for you.
When employees feel they are treated well at their job, they feel appreciated and are less likely to jump ship. It’s the small things, like competitive pay and benefits, that keep them engaged and happy in their position. In turn, they are more likely to stick with you through the thick and thin while, together, you pursue even greater success.