Employees discussing employee retention strategies

Top Ten Strategies to Retain Your Employees

Alan Melton

With our robust economy, unemployment levels are at record lows. To find and retain your employees is one of the biggest challenges facing small businesses. And costly! Experts estimate that it costs between $10,000 to 1.5 times their annual salary to bring on a new hire.

Top Ten Retention Strategies to Retain Employees

What can business owners do to keep their employees? Here is a top ten list.

1. Keep Your Vision, Values, and Mission in Front of Your Team

There is a saying that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Once you have clarity of where you want your business to be in five years, what your company does for customers, and how you want your employees to treat each other and your customers then make sure you reinforce your VVM at least weekly in your meetings and other communication. Having a compelling vision keeps employees excited, and more importantly, keeps YOU excited!

2. Encourage Your Employees To Grow Within and Outside Your Business

Offering promotion from within is a powerful motivator to your employees. To demonstrate that you are preparing them for promotion, find ways to train them.  Some examples of this can be implementing a training program or using outside resources and tools (such as workshops, books, online courses, etc.). Doing this can create a powerful incentive for your team members to stay over the long haul. Something as simple as creating a book of the month club can work wonders.

3. Involve Your Employees in Your Strategic Planning

Once you have developed your plan, bring your employees in and share your vision, values, and mission with them. Enlist their ideas and input in brainstorming sessions to create actions for the plan and then assign the employees with the ideas to carry out the task. This creates buy-in from your team.

4. Encourage Employees to Be Creative

Many companies say they value creativity but they don’t have any initiatives to support creativity. Below are some possibilities:

Offer rewards for creativity. Recognize and reward employees that contribute ideas that you implement.

Provide a private and public way of sharing ideas. Some employees don’t want attention and others do. This can be as simple as a suggestion box for private comments and a meeting forum for public comments.

Develop a fun working environment. Foster a caring and fun working environment to encourage spontaneity.

5. Deploy and Reinforce Your Values In The Workplace

The Golden Rule in the workplace when fully deployed can create a great sense of belonging and loyalty. A culture of respect can be fostered by implementing many of the following strategies: feedback, recognition, encouraging creativity, collaboration, and so on.

It is essential to empower your team members with kindness and thoughtfulness and to reinforce those values when practiced(and confront team members when not practiced).

6. Catch Your Employees Doing Something Right

Leaders tend to focus on problems and sometimes employees can get burned in the process. Stephen Covey wrote about making “Emotional Deposits” with people. If you build up their “Emotional Bank Account” then you position them to make a withdrawal when you need to provide constructive criticism.

Make it a point to look for positive acts from your team members and build up their accounts. Tell others about what you “caught” your employees doing.

7. Offer Competitive Compensation

Many business owners are stuck in the past with wages and are losing their employees to their competitors.

Your team members need to be able to cover their cost of living, and to feel like they are doing good, rewarding work. Research what a competitive salary would be for your employees and start paying them what they’re worth. If necessary, raise your prices to give you room for pay increases.

8. Resist Changing Things Too Quickly

Changes are constant can also be very stressful. New initiatives and system changes in your company should occur, but forcing too much change too soon can cause good people to leave.

When changes are necessary, involve your employees in the process. In the same way that you involve employees in planning, get their input and ideas on how to make the changes.

A thought to remember with leadership: leaders determine “the what” and employees determine “the how.”

9. Maintain a Clean and Safe Environment

Your employees spend 1/3 of their day in your facility; you want that time to be positive. You want to maintain a safe and comfortable working environment. Conduct a walkthrough of your facility and write down issues that need to be improved. Ask your employees for input with this. Or bring in a friend to give you a “fresh set of eyes.”

Cleaning house should not be limited to clutter. That can also include dismissing employees that are harassing, causing distractions, or not cooperating.

10. Provide Your Employees With Technologies and Tools That Set Them Up for Success

Sometimes it’s easy to overlook new technologies and tools that can make your employees and your business successful. Check with your industry association to learn about the latest offerings.

Conclusion

In summary, let your employees know that you care about them. Listen to them, pay them well, promote them and involve them in your success.

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