Friday, July 26, 2013

Employee Retention is Crucial to Small Business Success

As businesses grow, they must realize the importance of retaining friendly and reliable employees. Though companies in the early stages of formation may not plan on having many workers, employees deserve to be treated with respect, regardless of how many you have on the payroll. This is crucial to having a low turnover rate and can be a determining factor for the success of your endeavor.

A lot of small business owners work with their employees,
not in the shadows of some office.
The first thing that an employer should think about is a matter of empathy. Now that you're a business owner, it might be easy to forget about the struggles you went through in earlier phases of your life. You were likely an employee under someone's supervision at one point--remember that? Think about that awful boss that you had: Do you want to be seen like her or him? Not if you want to create a solid employee base, especially if you're working alongside your employees.

As the business begins to grow, these early (and hopefully loyal) workers may lead the charge for your crew. Of course, not all of your first hires will stay on board. Other opportunities come along and again, you have to remember what it was like when you were trying to get by as a worker, not as the owner of a business. Your loyalties are obviously inline with yourself, your business, and your goals. You shouldn't expect this of everyone you hire, unless they are as personally invested as you are. Loyalty and longevity can be expected of business partners, but even they will come and go. Instead of being bitter about departures, consider it a chance to retool and revamp your operations.

One of the ways that businesses retain talent is by offering solid benefits. This may not be feasible during the initial phase of opening your business, but after you have established a solid ground floor, consider building your infrastructure by investing in your employees.  Employees who know they can go to the ear doctor or afford the glasses they need will be freer to focus on fulfilling your business's goals.  Consider offering bonuses to your workers around the holidays. Many companies stopped doing this due to the recession and have not reinstated such programs. If you have enough success, you should definitely give bonuses a thought.

Another way you can invest in your employees is by offering vacation time. Instead of offering a number of days off per year, consider going the route of offering an unlimited paid vacation policy--that's right, the policy is both unlimited and paid. It may sound ludicrous at first, but many employers, including a number of technology start-ups, have implemented such plans. The only issue is that some employees may take less time off for their annual vacations. Again, this may sound counter-intuitive, but analysts looking into such policies have discovered that many employees are against an unlimited vacation arrangement because they do not feel like they have earned those days. This is often seen in workers who have grown used to the older system of accruing vacation days, allowing them to feel as if they have generated their own time off, not been given it for free.

There are many options for employee benefits. Though the decision-making in this regard may be tough, just be sure you do it so that your workers understand that you appreciate them.

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