By | Jen McKenzie | Author
Your employees are the lifeblood of your company, and savvy business owners recognize their importance and value. They drive productivity and profits, and they play a critical role in customer service, your company’s reputation and more. You understandably want to retain your truly exceptional employees for as long as possible, but even the best employees may leave your company for a wide range of reasons. You may think that simply paying your best employees well will deter them from leaving to join another company, but higher compensation and better benefits are not the only factors at play.
Why Is It Important to Think About Employee Retention?
Any time an employee leaves, you generally must deal with decreased productivity until you replace the individual. Finding the right person to hire can be time-consuming, expensive and stressful. Ideally, you want to keep your best employees so that you can achieve your professional business goals, and this is even more critical when you have a small company.
Consider that small businesses have less additional support available to fill in the holes when someone vacates a position. In addition, a small business may struggle to attract top talent when other larger companies are offering them a better overall opportunity with more benefits. In order to reduce employee turnover, it is important to understand the primary reason why people leave even a great-paying job with solid benefits. The main reason relates to poor management.
How to Increase Employee Retention
Regardless of the managerial situation in your office, some employees may be encouraged to stay on with the company for a longer period of time when the compensation and benefits are stellar. Therefore, to boost employee retention, offer a retirement program, health insurance, life insurance and as many other benefits as you can reasonably afford to offer.
You may even offer different employees unique benefits based on their skills or value to the company. For example, one employee may have access to an expense account or a company car.
Follow these few retention strategies to further encourage your best employees to remain with your company.
Encourage Communication and Feedback
Employees can feel frustrated and unhappy when they do not feel like their complaints or issues are heard or addressed. They likewise can feel like they are not accomplishing anything meaningful when you fail to offer a word of thanks or constructive criticism. You should structure regular evaluations for all employees, but you should also have an open-door policy to listen attentively when issues or concerns are pressing.
In addition, take time to offer feedback or praise as necessary when the situation calls for it. Regular team meetings are also a great time for employees to bring up issues or concerns or to get questions answered in a less intense setting compared to a face-to-face, formal evaluation.
At each evaluation, ask your employees for feedback from their end. In the event an issue is brought to your attention, address it professionally and promptly. More than that, always follow up with the employee to ensure that they know what action was taken to address the matter.
Engage Your Employees
When employees feel stagnant in their position or bored from monotonous, repetitive actions, they can easily feel unhappy. Always offer your employees educational opportunities, and train them regularly in new areas. Try to promote from within when the opportunity is available.
Furthermore, your employees should understand the company goals and how vital their position is in achieving the goals. Always make sure your employees have new tasks and responsibilities to keep them busy and engaged, and encourage them to each take on new projects that may challenge them and help them to grow in their position.
Some employees may become frustrated or unhappy when they feel as though their work life is too demanding and is negatively affecting their personal life. A great way to combat this is to provide your employees with flextime as well as the possibility of telecommuting at least a few days each week.
Telecommuting has been shown to reduce stress and create a happy work experience, and it may even help you to save money on overhead. Your employees can then better manage work and home life responsibilities with this type of work structure. Encourage them to take personal days when needed, and never make them feel guilty for taking time off for personal reasons.
Hire a HR Professional
Smaller companies generally do not need to hire a HR professional, but this is highly beneficial when your company has 100 employees or more. After all, your managerial tasks may become time-consuming and burdensome as your company size grows, and you may no longer have the time available to fully address managerial issues in the best ways possible.
Your HR professional may process payroll and manage benefits. He or she may also address workplace conflicts, assist with hiring and reviews and ensure compliance with employer laws and regulations. In addition, an HR staff member could recognize the need for additional programs or benefits that you may have overlooked.
Properly managing your team requires regular, focused effort. Eventually, your company may grow large enough to support a full-time HR professional, but even then, you will need to take an active role in coaching and other activities with your employees. Your focused attention in these critical areas may help you to retain top talent for years to come.
About the author
Jen McKenzie is a self-employed author hailing from New York, NY. She writes extensively on business, education and human resource topics. When Jennifer is not at her desk working, you can usually find her hiking or taking a road trip with her two dogs. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie