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If you run your own small business, one of the most crucial elements to its success is your team. Whether it’s you and one other, or you’ve got a few people working with you, they are an essential component. As a small team, you need to be able to pull together. You need to work seamlessly, understanding and complimenting each other. You might spend a long time ensuring that you’ve got the right people working for you and instilling a belief in and passion for your business.
As soon as you start hiring staff, recruitment becomes a priority. You’ll probably commit a lot of time to finding the right people, and spend time attracting the best staff. You might even go through a few people before you find the team that gels and works well together. But, then what?
Many small businesses have a low level of employee retention, their turnover is high, and they find it hard to get people to stick around. There are a few different reasons for this. Firstly, and perhaps most obviously, a lack of money. Bigger companies can afford to pay their employees a good wage, you might not be able to compete, even if you’ve only got a few employees to pay. Then, there’s development. Big companies promote within. They spend time training staff up. The people that work for them know that there will be opportunities to grow and develop. That there will be pay raises and promotions in their future. They know that their job could one day lead to bigger and better things. As a small business, it’s hard to offer the same prospects. There are very few promotions on offer in a small team. So, now that you’ve spent so much time finding the right team let’s take a look at some ways to reduce turnover and keep them working happily for your company for a long time to come.
One of the easiest ways to keep your staff happy is with recognition. You might not be able to offer substantial financial perks or bonuses, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t show them how much you appreciate them, and how grateful you are for all of their hard work.
Don’t become one of those managers that only notice when something has gone wrong. Don’t just speak to your staff when they have made a mistake or need to change the way that they work. Thank them for doing their job well at the end of every shift. Notice when they go the extra mile and praise their successes, however small.
Big financial bonuses are lovely. No one is going to say that they don’t enjoy being given extra cash when they have worked hard. But, money isn’t the only way to give your staff something extra. Small things like an afternoon off after a tough week or even an extra tea break during their shift can be valuable. Speak to other local businesses about discount swaps for all of your collective employees, and look online for cheap ways to reward your staff.
If there’s something that modern staff wants more than anything else, it’s flexibility. More of us are seeking flexible ways to work, and even finding ways to work from home because that’s the only way that we can work around our families and other commitments. More mothers than ever are returning to work, needing flexible conditions around childcare and more fathers are seeking employment that allows them to spend more time with their families, and attend their children’s events and milestones. Even those without children have other responsibilities and commitments that they want to be able to work around.
Big businesses should find it easier to offer flexibility. They have enough staff to cover for each other’s schedules. But, they often don’t. Try to afford all of your staff some level of flexibility, and understand that they have different needs. Offer your staff flexible conditions, and they won’t want to leave for fear of not getting the same ever again.
As a small business, you’ll have to work hard to succeed and grow. But, that doesn’t mean that your working days need to be stressful and filled with pressure. Get to know your team, encourage socializing outside of work. Spend time outdoors together. Have regular breaks instead of one long lunch hour. Keep your office space bright and filled with color and let your staff enjoy their work. If they don’t seem to be, ask them what you could do to make things better for them.
Many small businesses make the mistake of not training their staff because they worry that if they are well-trained, they’ll outgrow their current employment and start looking for something more challenging. This can be true, but it isn’t always.
Train your staff, give them your time and your knowledge, and they will respect you. They’ll enjoy working with you, and they’ll know that there will be opportunities as your business grows. Yes, they might be forced to move on to seek new opportunities one day, but until then, you’ll get them at their very best. And, even if they do leave, they could prove to be a beneficial connection in the future.
Loyalty, respect and positive working relationships can go a long way to increase employee retention. Get to know them, be understanding of their needs. Check in with them regularly. Build working relationships between you and your team, and they’ll be loyal to you and to your company.
There are many ways to keep the best staff. Building relationships, being honest with them and giving them what you can are great. But, ultimately the most important thing that you can do is find the right people in the first place. If you feel as though someone won’t stick around, don’t hire them in the first place. Hire people that you know will become invested in your company and create a team that sees it as more than just another job. Make them want to be a part of your success.
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