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TIP TUESDAY: 7 Inexpensive Ways to Retain Employees at Your Small Business

{excerpted from Business Know-How online}

Keeping employees happy and satisfied with their jobs is important for small businesses, but you might not have the budget to pay the same salary big companies can pay. Here are seven things you can do to help keep them from jumping ship if another job offer comes along.

Flex Time

Millennials don’t want to make their life about work. They want the opportunity to live a more balanced life. In one study, 70% said that giving back was very important to them, but unlike baby boomers who worked the 9-5 to grind every day, millennials, who are masters of technology, want the option to work at home at a time convenient to them.

Top talent is going to work hard—that’s why they’re top talent. So why not offer them a flexible schedule and the opportunity to telecommute? Some jobs lend themselves to such a schedule better than others, and what’s the worst that can happen? You try it, it doesn’t work out, and you tell them they have to come back to the office? As a small business, you can implement strategies like this much faster than the bigger corporations.

Pick Up Their Dry Cleaning

At Silicon Valley companies like Google, addressing basic issues is a big part of their retention program for employees at every level. Having an area stocked with food, sending a Wi-Fi equipped bus to pick them up for work, and offering daycare for new parents are just a few of the perks of working at Google.

What basic problems can you solve for your people? Most of these perks don’t cost a lot of money but they’re huge to your employees.

The 80/20 Rule

One unique “perk” at Google is allowing employees to devote 80% of their time to the job they were hired to do – but can spend 20% working on passion projects they believe will benefit the company or the world.

Millennials have a passion for creativity. They don’t want to be told to simply do their job and let higher-ups cast the vision and work on the high-brain-power tasks. People who feel like stakeholders are likely to stay longer.

Provide Constant Feedback

Your employees don’t like that annual review any more than you like doing it. They want instant feedback. They want you to celebrate them when they really nail something. When they don’t measure up, they want to know why and how to do better without being yelled at or diminished.

If your business is small, take groups of employees out to lunch regularly. Ask them how they feel about their job and if there’s anything you can do better to support them.

Promote from Within

Sometimes that’s not possible but when you have an outstanding employee who is clearly fit for a higher level job, promote him or her. People are always looking for more and they know that as they gain knowledge and experience, they’re worth more to companies. Show your employees a clear path to advancement and promote from within whenever possible.

Train Them

Not by bringing in the high-priced corporate cheerleaders; train them in a way they enjoy. Is there a new piece of software they would like to learn? Is there a new technique that’s all the craze that they’re interested in? Ask them. What are they interested in that could bring value to them and also your business? It could be part of that 20% mentioned above.

The Traditional Perks

Let’s not forget about the traditional perks that every employee is looking for. People don’t work for you primarily because they love your company; they’re working to support their families, so salary, insurance, and retirement are not only important, they’re critical to their well-being.

Could you offer a profit sharing plan? A better insurance package? How about highly objective goals tied to their salary? If they generate X amount of sales they’re guaranteed a 4% raise?

If you align your goals with theirs, these basic benefits that every employee is looking for could entice them to work harder. Work alongside them to help them reach those goals and let them know you want to give out the largest rewards as possible at the end of the year.

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