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4 Ways to Increase Employee Retention

4 Ways to Increase Employee Retention

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between 2.7 and 2.8 million people quit their job every month (yes…million). This is a trend that has been showing an increase since the country’s recession ended, and the industries hardest hit by workers who are choosing to leave their jobs include hospitality services (food and accommodations), government, and education.

While the first question you may want to ask yourself is, “Why are so many people leaving their jobs?,” perhaps the better question is, “Why do the others choose to stay?” While there are a number of theories, ranging from they’re simply comfortable where they are to they’re too lazy to look for another job, the reality is that a happy employee is a long-term employee.

And if you’ve got good employees, knowing how to keep them happy can reduce your turnover rates, decrease your hiring and training costs, and improve office morale because people feel thankful to be working for you.

So, how do you do that? Here are four options to consider:

Make Sure They’re In the Right Job

In order for anyone to be satisfied in their job, they have to be doing what they love. However, sometimes employees are hired for jobs that, while qualified for them, they’re not exactly the right fit. They don’t properly play up to the employees’ strengths, or they are either too challenging or not challenging enough.

If you have an employee who has some exceptional qualities but seems to be struggling, take the time to find out what about their position is giving them a hard time. Maybe you have them in a sales position, but they would be better in operations. Or perhaps they’re in a job that requires a lot of computer work, but dealing with people is where they excel.

Moving them to a different position within your small business may be just the thing that they need to be more satisfied, thus enticing them to want to stay. This allows you to keep good employees and they often wind up working harder because they’re more satisfied with what they do.

Show That You Care About Them as a Person

One study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology found that the more employees felt supported by the company leaders on a more emotional level, the less likely they were to leave their jobs in search of another. Specifically, it was important to the employees to believe that their supervisors cared about them as a person and valued what they had to offer the company.

Some ways that you can show your employees that you care, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will stay, include asking about how their families are doing, inquiring about their hobbies, or even just taking the time to make small talk to let them know that you have time for them. Taking even a tiny bit of interest in their life lets them know that you see them not only as an employee, but also as an individual.

Give Praise Where Praise Is Due

If you have the attitude that people should be doing a good job just because they get a paycheck from you, well, I happen to believe that you’re right but a little bit of appreciation certainly goes a long way. I once worked for an employer who hardly ever handed out praise, even if an employee went well above and beyond, and the low office morale showed it.

I’ve also worked for an employer who wasn’t afraid to pat you on the back and congratulate you for a job well done, offering thanks for helping out the company. In this situation, every one of the employees arrived to work with smiles on their faces and clearly enjoyed their time spent on the job. This made the long days feel more like pleasure and less like work, even though we often tended to work from sun up to sun down.

Don’t be afraid to recognize employees when they do their job and do it well. Your thanks doesn’t have to be a grand gesture either. Sometimes just a simple “thank you” is enough to let them know that you appreciate what they’re doing for the business, making them want to do good things over and over again.

Offer Good Exceptional Benefits

Of course, paying employees higher wages is one way to keep them in your employ, but that isn’t always possible, especially if you’re a really small business or just starting out and don’t have a lot of cash to work with. Fortunately, there are other benefits you can offer that don’t necessarily have to cost you an arm and a leg.

For example, you could offer your employees flex time so they can work hours more conducive to their needs at home or allow them to work from home all or some of the time. Other no-cost options that could make your business more appealing include having a relaxed dress code one day a week, working with other local businesses to offer your employees additional benefits (such as dry cleaning pick-up and drop-off or meal delivery), and having company-wide picnics or outings. Find ways to make their lives easier and better and they’ll repay you with loyalty and hard work.

A happy staff is a staff that will likely stick with you for years and years to come. If you have employees that have stayed with you years (or even decades), what types of things do you do to make them hang around? I’d love to know, so please share them in the comment section below!

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by Christina DeBusk // Freelance writer, author, and small business consultant committed to helping entrepreneurs achieve higher levels of success.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.