In order for your small business to grow, retaining your employees is critical. When long-term employees who are knowledgeable in your industry and your niche leave your business for better jobs elsewhere, you’ll struggle to keep pace with your workload. You’ll also face the time, costs and hassles of hiring replacement workers, training them and getting them up to speed.
To avoid all this in the first place and keep your employees satisfied, what can you do? Here are some factors that employees consistently say matter most to them.
1. Opportunity for advancement. Do you always hire from outside the company, or do you promote from within? If employees feel there’s no room for advancement at your business, they’ll get bored and look elsewhere. Even if you can’t offer promotions or raises, you can offer employees chances to learn new skills through in-house training; by sending them to conferences, seminars and industry events; and by having them take online webinars or courses to improve their skills.
2. Employee benefits. While fun perks like massages in the office or bring-your-pet-to-work day may get the headlines, in reality most employees care about basic benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans. A recent survey by Towers Watson found a clear link between the quality of a company’s benefits and its ability to retain employees. “Employers whose benefit programs meet employees’ needs enjoy a significant competitive advantage in attracting and retaining employees, especially employees with a long-term outlook,” according to the survey, which shows that retirement and healthcare insurance plans are the benefits employees find most desirable.
To make sure you’re spending money on the benefits that matter most to your employees, consider surveying workers to find out what types of benefits they’d prefer, such as retirement plans, health insurance coverage, dental or vision coverage, life insurance and wellness programs. Also talk to your accountant to make sure the options you choose are beneficial to your business financially.
3. Flexibility. Having the options to work flexible hours and work remotely at least part of the time are perks employees in almost all age groups desire. Millennial employees (those in their 20s and early 30s), and working parents especially value flexibility to help them juggle work and their personal lives. A study cited in Forbes found 92 percent of Millennials want to work remotely and 87 percent want to be able to set their own hours. Figure out if you can offer either flexible hours, work-at-home options or both—these are great retention tools.
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