Retaining your best employees is important for your business. Be sure you’re not giving them reasons to leave by avoiding these seven mistakes.
Employee retention is important for small businesses because of the high cost of recruiting employees and because of the negative impact the loss of a key employee can have on staff morale and customer relationships. On top of that, when an employee you have trained leaves, it feels like a slap in the face! You tell them how valuable they are but by the time they submit the letter, you know that it’s nearly impossible to get them to stay.
Regardless of how good of a manager you are, sometimes employees are going to leave. Often, their departure stems from factors outside of your control, but sometimes the reasons they leave are related to mistakes you may be able to correct.
Here are the top 7 employee retention mistakes employers make and what to do about them.
1. You aren’t paying enough
Yes, you’re a small business but your employees are working to pay the bills, put food on the table, and build a nest egg. Other factors are important but money is a primary motivator.
For employees that prove to be valuable, pay market rates or above as soon as you can. Is it understandable that you’re a small business and don’t have a large budget to pay what the major corporations pay? Yes, but asking somebody to accept less money than they can make elsewhere isn’t inviting a loyal, long-term employee.
Don’t know the “market rates?”can help.
2. You aren’t training enough
A star employee didn’t get that way by accident. They love to learn and they want to be a little better each day. What does that mean for you? Constantly give them opportunities to train. Send them to conferences, pay for a new certification, or connect them with somebody you know in the industry.
Is there a chance that you’ll invest heavily into them and they’ll take all of that knowledge to another company? Yes, but it’s a chance worth taking.
3. You aren’t challenging enough
As they receive the training, they’re eager to put it to work. They aren’t happy coming to work and doing the same job every day. As a manager, you should constantly look for a new way to challenge them. Adding more work isn’t the answer. As they solve a problem, give them a new one to tackle.
4. You aren’t respecting their time
While this is true of any employee, it quickly becomes a problem with great employees, often without you realizing. Because they’re reliable, they’re the first people you call on to take care of important tasks but you can’t overload them.
Respect their job description. Let them know that you expect them to put their family first and want them to tell you if they feel overloaded. Be careful not to burn them out.
5. You make them work 9-5
We live in a connected world. In most businesses, employees can do a portion of their work from just about anywhere. Star employees who have gained your trust can work anywhere, anytime they would like so let them make their schedule.
Sure, there will be meetings and other scheduled events they must attend (and they understand that) but outside of that, judge their performance instead of the amount of time they spend at their desk.
6. You don’t praise enough
Bad managers have the attitude that if somebody is getting paid, doing a great job is an expectation—not something special. Everybody should come to work to do a great job but if you aren’t the complimenting type, you’re likely to have higher employee turnover.
Everybody likes a compliment. At home, from friends, on Facebook, and by their boss, public recognition makes people smile and lets them know that you care.
7. You don’t ask for enough feedback
Your great employees have a wealth of ideas. If you aren’t asking for them, you’re missing out on something that could transform your business.
But more importantly, ask them how they feel about their job and encourage them to be honest. Simply asking and listening goes a long way but with that information, you can constantly tweak their position to keep up with how they’re evolving as a professional.
Even if you do all of the right things, sometimes employees will leave. When they do, don’t hold a grudge. Give them a grand sendoff, and commit to keeping in touch. Keeping a relationship in place could be lucrative for you. What if you used them as an independent contractor for some projects? What if they send you other great employees they meet?
Just because they’re leaving doesn’t mean that they’re no longer valuable to you.