Attracting and retaining staff can be tricky for a small business owner, particularly because the hiring and training process can be a costly one. So how can you ensure you retain staff for years to come?
Offer some great perks
We can’t all afford (or want, actually) to install massive slides in the office a la Google, or be able to offer unlimited leave like Virgin, but smaller perks will add up. Whether it’s ensuring your staff have constant access to a decent source of caffeine, or offering flexible working from time-to-time, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to keep staff happy. And happy staff is the key to retention.
A common reason for staff fleeing the nest is that they feel like their career has stagnated. In a corporate culture where there’s a clear career ladder, this can be less of a problem, but in a small or medium business, there may simply not be room for promotion. But this doesn’t mean there’s no room for growth. Offering training opportunities to improve on a worker’s skill-set can go a long way. This could be in the form of e-learning, educational qualifications or even a secondment to another department. Help your employees to grow and they’re more likely to want to grow with you.
Staff like to know they’re being heard, and keeping a clear line of communication with them can really help them to feel valued in your business. Open-door policies, which invite employees to discuss issues at any time can be particularly effective, but only if you listen! Alternatively, anonymous employee surveys can encourage some more pressing concerns out of the woodwork. But don’t be surprised if some of the feedback is a little brutal!
Focus on the individual
While we use ‘staff’ here as a catch-all term, it’s important to understand the unique abilities, traits and goals that every individual member of your team has. Annual reviews are good, but quarterly reviews are even better.
Some companies like to check in weekly or even daily. When employees know that they are appreciated for who they are and what they bring to the company, they’re much more likely to feel like an integral part of your business, and be less likely to stray elsewhere.
Hire the right people to start with
Making sure you’re hiring the right fit for your company can save you headaches and money on rehiring and retraining further down the line. A little time spent on the hiring process can make a lot of difference. Make sure your job specs are accurate – if the job doesn’t live up to expectations, a new hire is going to get bored very quickly. Bring in staff members actively in that role to help in the interview stage and listen to them – they’re more likely to understand whether a candidate is a good fit than you are!
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