3 Things You Need to Do to Keep Your Best Employees From Quitting

Felicia Sullivan

People don’t necessarily quit their bosses — they quit their jobs. While people may be likely to jump ship if they’re working for a micromanaging tyrant, most employees exit because of the work. Either they’re not empowered, their job wasn’t meaningful, or they didn’t see the potential for growth in their role.

When employees leave, small businesses suffer huge turnover costs, which can hurt profits and productivity. According to a study conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management, the average cost per new hire is over $4,000, and that number can skyrocket depending on the expenses for recruiting, hiring, training, and onboarding new talent. A turnover calculator can help you determine a potential turnover’s financial impact on your business.

And, in addition to the financial costs, you have to factor in the effect a coworker’s departure has on your other employees, who have to pick up the work slack as one person leaves and a new hire gets up to speed.

It’s time to start thinking about how your employees want to work before they decide they want to work somewhere else:

  • Are your employees motivated?
  • Do you give them room to flex their creative muscles to generate smart ideas that will grow your bottom line?
  • Are you as invested in them as they are in your business?

The answers to these questions can mean the difference between having a revolving door of talent and a team of loyal employees who are devoted to your small business for the long haul.

Here are three surefire ways to help keep your star talent from walking out the door:

1. Create work your employees enjoy doing.

So long as they’re getting their work done, let them bring what makes them special — their unique talents and skill sets — to the workplace. Is your barista secretly a singer? Have them stage an open mic night once a week to bring in the after-work crowd. Is your administrative assistant proficient in web design? Invite them to help with your website and social media channels.

According to a recent Gallup poll, 51% of workers are not engaged in their roles. Partnering with your employees to clarify their responsibilities and empower them to develop professionally can reap bottom-line benefits. Businesses that focus on creating an engaging environment as a workplace strategy experience 24% less turnover, along with a 17% increase in productivity and a 41% reduction in absenteeism.

If your employees spend the bulk of their time at work, why not help make it an experience that is productive, positive, and purposeful?

2. Get to know your staff — really know them.

In this day and age of our phones acting as a barrier for real human connection, as well as the assembly-line style of ordering lunch, people are starting to feel more like numbers than individuals.

The desire for efficiency can get in the way of personal one-to-one interactions. Bridge the employee and boss divide by getting to know your employees as people, rather than as line items on a spreadsheet. Learn about what motivates and inspires them. Encourage them to open up and give you candid feedback.

You can do this in the following ways:

  • Have “office hours.” Make yourself accessible to your employees and welcome their input. They’ll feel more comfortable approaching you outside of business meetings to talk about issues and ideas.
  • Host “offsite events.” Develop deeper connections with your team outside of the confines of the workplace by hosting fun after-work events or retreats. From themed potluck dinners, to taking in a local sports game or volunteering for a local charity, create memorable moments that make your staff feel personally connected to your business.
  • Recognize their good ideas and wins. Whether you hang a plaque on the wall or hand out small gift cards, acknowledging your employees’ achievements and contributions goes a long way in terms of cultivating loyalty. Invite ideas, act on the good ones, and issue praise and rewards where they’re due.

Your employees will take pride in their work and they’ll be more invested in your business when they feel like they’re a real part of it. Showing up for them sends them a clear message about how they’re valued. As a result, they’ll show up for you.

3. Give them some flexibility.

While salary is still important to workers, the landscape of compensation is changing, with potential employees interested in a compensation package that balances pay and perks. Studies show that flexibility trumps compensation: 76% of millennials would take at least a 3% pay cut in exchange for flexible hours. For parents, work-life balance and flexible schedules are more important than salary, according to a Flexjobs survey.

Working with your employees to find their ideal schedule and work style can work in your favor as an employer. In a study conducted by Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers say telecommuting has a high impact on retaining employees, and over 66% of employers reported a spike in productivity from employing flexible schedules.

If you run a business where working from home is not an option, consider developing an hourly arrangement with your employees so they have time to focus on what matters outside of their job.

People crave a healthier, happier life. When employees are able to spend time with their loved ones and be present outside of their work life, their job performance and satisfaction will grow.

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