Handling hiring is hard enough for small business owners, but that’s only half the battle. The fewer employees you have, the more important their work for you is. And even more important is the need to retain them and have them stay with your company as you grow.
A small core group of employees serves as a foundation for a small business. A portion, if not all, of that group will rise to the challenge of building your company’s identity and philosophy for the future. Those dedicated people are of immense value, but it’s up to you to create a workplace that will keep them invested, motivated, and—most of all—happy.
How can you keep the best employees on your side as you grow and change? These tips can help you along the way.
Create a dynamic experience
A small company offers its employees both challenge and opportunity. Because your business can’t always hire someone new when there’s a need, some employees are going to end up wearing many hats. Obviously, you have to be careful not to ask too much of the people who work for you, but giving them a chance to apply their talents in different ways can serve as a real perk.
Offering chances for employees to lend their talents in different departments or company endeavors keeps the working experience from becoming stagnant. Give your employees fresh challenges every so often and show that you’re invested in their growth as well as your company’s.
When people aren’t being limited to a narrow range of responsibilities, they can feel a greater sense of ownership in your business. It empowers them, builds greater trust between you and your employees, and creates a better corporate culture.
Make it feel like family
Speaking of the corporate culture, one of best advantages small businesses have in the hiring world is their ability to create an admirable and—dare we say—fun environment to work in. That’s because having 50 or fewer employees means almost everyone has had a chance to develop a relationship with the rest.
Manger-employee relationships are an enormous factor in employee retention and possibly the single most important one. As a small business owner, you can’t help but be directly involved in a lot of your company’s operations—thus, the better your relationship is with them, the less anxious about working alongside you and less worried that your presence means they’ve done something wrong.
But more than that, it’s about making the workplace welcoming. Try to do things together in the off-hours or, better yet, organize something casual and fun to be done on a half-day Friday. Have frequent meetings that are conversational and open to suggestions from all employees. Doing things like these don’t just make your workplace more relaxed, it creates a place where your employees feel like they belong.
Offer creative benefits
Giving your employees challenging opportunities and a comfortable corporate culture are benefits in their own right, but traditional ones are quite important for retention as well.
The size of your business means your employees should understand that you can’t offer them the full package, but a lack of paid time off or cash bonuses can be sticking points for an employee deciding whether to stay or go. It can be costly, so getting creative can be to your benefit as an owner.
Paying wages for certain times spent out of office is one possibility, whether it’s for employees going to a company event like mentioned above, community service, or special training. Then combining that with half-day Fridays, perks like health club memberships, partial compensation for continued education, or occasional catered lunches can make up for the fact you can’t afford to provide full health insurance or two weeks of paid vacation a year.
Small business owners have a lot on their plates. Contact Paycor to learn how we can help clear off those plates and allow you to spend more time running your business, or check out some of our other articles for entrepreneurs.
Sources: Gallup, Smallbiztrends.com, The New York Times, Forbes
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