Entrepreneurs wear many different hats establishing small businesses, so having your hands in every aspect of your venture is natural, for a time. At some point in its development, however, your business needs more hands on deck, facilitating growth, expansion, and smooth day-to-day operations.
Once they are on board, trained, and committed to the cause, key staff members fill crucial roles advancing your vision and driving your company in the desired direction. With capable personnel in place, the last thing you want is high turnover, losing your best employees.
What can you do to retain top talent?
Hire the Right Person for the Job
When you consider the time, effort, and money invested in onboarding and talent development, the cost of hiring and training employees is significant. At the same time, it’s a small price to pay for securing top performers and nurturing qualified long-term producers. The challenge for small business hiring managers is recognizing where to invest resources for the greatest possible returns. Hiring the right person for the job is one way to make the most of your personnel budget.
A job interview represents only one point in time, yet the applicant and employer are courting the possibility of a long-term relationship. In order to match the right candidates to positions within your organization, it’s important for you to look beyond the hiring process, projecting what the future looks like for both your business and the prospective hire.
Do the applicant’s personal ambitions line up with your expectations for the position? Are there opportunities for advancement within your company? Does the applicant’s skill set lean in the direction you’d like your business to grow? While it’s hard to predict the future, the best hires are those with abilities and aspirations synched with your organizational mission – now and down the road.
Facilitate Work-Life Balance
The workforce continually evolves, so you may have to adapt your approach to accommodate the values of each new generation of workers. In today’s employment marketplace that means helping employees achieve agreeable work-life balance.
Facilitating personal and professional equilibrium reduces employee stress, which in turn motivates members of your staff to perform at a high level. If they are happy on the job, due to equitable work-life arrangements, employees are more likely to stay with you for a longer period of time. A few of the ways you can help staff achieve balance include:
- Flexible Work Schedules
- Paid Time Off
- Reasonable Expectations
- Remote Work Opportunities
- Company Sponsored Events and Services
- Tolerant Culture
Workplace communication is a two-way street. Just as your own input helps employees measure expectations and work efficiently, feedback from staff closes the circle, ensuring you’re providing everything staff members need to optimize productivity. Leaving team members guessing or failing to give them a voice not only undermines output, but it may also push key team members out the door, seeking employment where they’re heard.
No one knows better than your employees what they need to best execute their job requirements. If you’re not listening to their input, heeding suggested improvements, it’s probably costing you money every day. Even if you can’t implement every recommendation, creating a conduit for sharing keeps you connected and helps make staffers feel valued.
Give Employees Room to Excel
If yours is like many organizations, you may have employees on board that don’t pull their weight. Worse, they may bring negativity to the workplace, dragging down productivity and spreading their own poor work habits to others on your team.
Your star players can’t shine when they are distracted by gossip, office politics, and a bad work ethic. If you expect your best employees to reach their full potential, it’s up to you to separate the wheat from the chaff, sending sub-par workers on their way, before they undermine the rest of your workforce.
Share the Profits
Money is a powerful source of motivation, so it’s no surprise; employees often change jobs to pursue a bigger payday. Unfortunately for small business owners, they must compete with larger organizations, acquiring talent, frequently facing deep pockets in the employment marketplace.
Though you may not be able to match salary offers originating from big businesses, dollar-for-dollar, it may be possible to share a portion of the profits, in order to retain top producers.
It doesn’t always make sense to make an employee a partner, but when it does, making the move can help keep vital staff on board. In particular, certain service businesses rely on close relationships with staff members and clients. In some cases, an employee leaving your organization may result in a chunk your business following along. If you stand to lose revenue, as well as a top contributor, making the person a partner may be a prudent move.
Sharing profits isn’t realistic for budding businesses, still growing toward profitability, but you may be able to extend an equity share to integral employees. Offering key staff members a stake in the business creates a built-in incentive for them to remain with the company during its lean early days, with hopes of cashing in later, when you sell the business. Properly structuring the incentive is important – you don’t want to strike a deal allowing an employee to earn equity and leave the organization.
Human resources are the driving force behind small business growth and development, so losing top producers is a major setback. Not only does high turnover undermine consistency and continuity within your organization, but the cost of hiring and training employees can also devastate your bottom line. If you’re committed to keeping top talent on your payroll, tap these tips for retaining standout staff.