Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to. I have always believed that the way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers, and that people flourish when they are praised.

 

Two quotes from entrepreneurial wizard Richard Branson that are worth remembering when you are looking to have talented people in your businesses.

With New Zealand’s aging population, small businesses are seeing their older staff retiring. This is looking to be accelerated with the pandemic crisis, with older staff taking early retirement. This is causing a talent vacuum in businesses.

Consequently, finding potential talent and then keeping them is becoming difficult. 

Small businesses owners often believe that only large businesses can attract and then retain talented staff. Not so.

Small businesses can be much more flexible than large enterprises and offer a position which can be almost tailored to the candidate’s needs. For example, small businesses can offer staff the opportunity to job share or have flexible working hours - particularly valuable when it comes to couples with childcare responsibilities.
Employee turnover impacts dramatically on small businesses.

Not only is employee loss potentially expensive to the business, it can also be detrimental to long- and short-term business goals and to the well-being of your existing employees. 

According to Forbes, 66% of employees said they would resign if they feel underappreciated. 

So what can you do to attract and retain talented employees?

Besides structured meetings, communicate regularly to the business as a whole

Here’s some tips that may help:

1. Financial rewards
Obviously an attractive wage or salary is a big plus to candidates. COVID-19 has financially damaged many small businesses and they are looking at ways to save costs. Offering below market salaries isn’t one of them.

Audit your salaries regularly so that they reflect market conditions. Providing a fair pay that’s commensurate with experience and value created is a huge factor in attracting and retaining employees. Perhaps establish a rewards and incentives program for excellent performance as an added sweetener.

2. It’s not all about money
Many employees  especially the new generations - are just as concerned about the quality of life a position offers as they are about what they will be paid. Look at ways you can promote a work-life balance for your employees. With COVID-19, we are seeing more flexible working conditions, particularly working from home.

This is an opportunity for you to offer employees flexible hours to pursue activities, such as sport (you can even sponsor them or their team or club) and exercise. Perhaps encourage employees to meet socially (pandemic restrictions allowing) or have regular business social events. It can bolster teamwork within the business and probably increase productivity.

3. Give them a career path
Most employees are looking for positions that offer opportunities for advancement. One of the best employee retention strategies is developing a path for career growth and promotion.

Look at ways you can help their professional development. Maybe send your best employees to conferences, seminars or workshops to invest in their professional development. It’s a win-win. Not only does this give them tangible new skills and signals you want to invest in them, it also means you can capitalise on those skills to increase the success of the business.

4. Culture
A clearly stated business culture is vital for employees. Potential employees are far more likely to accept a job with your companyand stay at that jobif you’ve created a positive company culture. The ethics of the business; its values; goals; and expectations are often what potential employees – particularly recent generations –seek in their choice of workplace.

A Deloitte survey found that Millennials especially have a strong desire for a people-focused workplace that has a purpose.

 
A small business that has established a growth path, provides appropriate benefits, which communicates, celebrates performance and pays competitively will attract the right sort of employee - and you will get to hang on to them.
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