Over the last 2 years, Americans have been quitting their jobs in record numbers. In 2021 alone, over 47.8 million U.S. workers quit their jobs. Because of this, many small business owners have found themselves struggling to fill open positions and to retain their current employees during what’s been deemed, “The Great Resignation”.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports that 56% of small businesses are concerned about recruiting enough new employees to fill open positions, and that 57% are concerned about employee retention. In fact, larger small businesses (20-499 employees) rank employee retention as one of their highest concerns.
Since the pandemic, many workers are reconsidering what they want from their current and future jobs. And with the number of open positions so high, people can afford to be selective with their employment. So how can you ensure your company stays competitive and how can you keep your staff from leaving? Check out these 7 best practices for increasing employee retention:
- Give Employees Room to Grow
Be sure to periodically meet with each one of your team members individually and ask them about their goals. Let them know what opportunities are available for advancement, for learning new skills, and for taking on more challenging projects or tasks. Working with your team to help them achieve their goals will increase their job satisfaction.
- Recognize People’s Accomplishments and Celebrate Milestones
Show your staff that you value them by celebrating birthdays, work anniversaries, and major achievements. Celebrations boost employee morale and help people feel appreciated. Sometimes a gesture as simple as gathering your team for a quick post-lunch cake and coffee break to celebrate employee achievement shows that you recognize their hard work and are thankful for them.
- Prioritize a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Expecting personnel to work too many hours or to be on call 24/7 can quickly lead to burnout. Be realistic about your expectations and consider offering resources to help employees deal with stress. In addition, make sure to encourage workers to take breaks and don’t penalize those who have to leave to care for a sick child or take time off for major life events.
- Be Flexible
Offering a flexible work environment helps your employees feel valued and alleviates stress. It also lets them know that you have faith in their ability to get their jobs done. If possible, consider offering some work from home options or flexible work hours to make your staff’s lives easier. People want to work at companies where they know they can adjust their schedule if they have to take their car to the mechanic, go to a doctor’s appointment, or be at home to have their home heating system serviced.
- Be a Good Communicator
Focus on being an emotionally intelligent leader who communicates well. If you’re approachable and available for your team, it will go a long way. Keep the lines of communication open so that people don’t feel alone with their questions or concerns. And be sure to ask for feedback often and also give it to your employees in a helpful, constructive manner.
- Promote a Sense of Teamwork and Belonging
Cultivating a positive and inclusive work environment is great for morale and it fosters collaboration. Help your employees build a connection with one another by hosting team building events, volunteering together as a company, or by creating a peer-to-peer recognition program where coworkers can nominate each other for an award for a job well done.
- Provide Fair Compensation
A recent study found that the #1 reason that employees left their jobs in 2021 was that the pay was too low. Offering a competitive salary will help you attract and retain quality talent and will send a clear picture that you know people’s worth. If you’re unsure of the right amount of compensation to offer, consider several factors like what the average pay is for the position in your industry, how much you can comfortably afford to pay, and what the employee is worth to your company.
Because the pandemic changed what workers want from an employer, small business owners need to adjust to better meet the needs of their teams. Making job satisfaction a priority will prevent employee attrition, save you time and money associated with recruiting new workers, and greatly improve many aspects of your business.
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