by Art Piccio . March 5th, 2014
With employee tenure short even at the best companies — it was just over 9 months at Fortune 500 companies last year — businesses of every size are struggling to keep their staff.
Whether the reason employees leave is poor management, better opportunity elsewhere, or personal reasons, small businesses pay a higher price for employee turnover.
Is it possible to make your staff stay? While tying them to their chairs probably isn’t the ideal solution, there are some strategies that may help.
Not every business owner is adept at managing people. If that’s your situation, either work on your leadership technique or hire a manager who your staff can better identify with. There’s no failure in admitting you’re better suited to run your company rather than your staff.
Sadly, you’re competing with all the other companies in town in terms of the perks and benefits they offer new hires. While you may not be able to afford to host regular Beer Fridays, you can still find appealing options for your staff.
If you’ve ever walked into an office where people loved what they do, you could probably tell. It doesn’t seem like a sterile, fluorescent-lit office space; it’s cozy and welcoming. You may not pay attention to the color of your walls and the lack of plants in the office, but it could make your employees want to spend more time there if you invest a little in the decor.
You can’t ignore the telecommuting revolution any longer; a solid 2 million people in the US work from home at least part-time. There are ample studies about the financial and productivity benefits of offering flexible work schedules, but one fact stands out: companies who offer them tend to have lower turnover.
Understandably, you’d want a stellar employee to stay where she is for 20 years, but if she’s as good as you think, she’ll want to move up that corporate ladder. Rather than make it difficult, help her, and she’ll be more likely to stay within the company. You might lose her in one department, but the company will still benefit from her skills elsewhere.
Staff who regularly receive praise or thanks from a boss tend to be happier and more productive. You’re busy, so you’re probably not thinking about what a great job Beth did on the presentation, but step outside of your thoughts and acknowledge her hard work.
A quick look at Salary.com can tell you what your competitors are paying for similar roles. Make sure you’re within a competitive range, and also factor in those amazing perks and benefits you now offer.
The only way to know if your staff is happy is to talk to them. Individually. Find out how they’re feeling about their work, and dive into what their goals at the company are. Then set your employees up for success, and support them in any way you can.
Spending some time and money on making sure your staff is healthy and happy will pay off in many ways:
Wellness programs, weight loss competitions, and rewards for being healthy are all options for your small business.
Employees just want to feel invested in your company. They want to feel like their work matters to you. Don’t overrule every decision they make, and trust them to do the work you hired them to do.
It’s not difficult to make employees happy, but it does take a little work. It’s well worth the investment if your staff stays with your company for years and years.
Cover image: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc
Susan Payton writes for ScheduleBase, online employee scheduling software with mobile apps, taking headaches away from business owners, one employee at a time.
Arthur Piccio manages YouTheEntrepreneur and has managed content for major players in the online printing industry. He was previously BizSugar's contributor of the week. His work has appeared multiple times on The New York Times' You're the Boss Small Business Blog. He enjoys guitar maintenance and reading up on history and psychology in his spare time.