Successful business owners know that their biggest asset is not their inventory, their client list or even their brand: it’s their people who make the business successful.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, a business owner can spend anywhere from 40 to 80 percent of their gross revenue on salaries and benefits. It’s a big investment, so it’s important to ensure that you’re making the investment in the right employees.
The good news is that any business can be a top employer, regardless of size, industry or revenue, by focusing on how to attract and retain employees that can help your business succeed.
Define your mission and leadership
It’s hard to work in an environment without clear goals and inconsistent leadership. Having clear goals and leaders who are on the same page helps current employees achieve success and shows potential employees that everyone on your company is working toward the same goal.
Know what you’re looking for to ensure the right fit for new hires
When hiring a new employee, it’s important to clearly define the role that needs to be filled. All positions in your company should have a well-defined job description, but it’s even more important for a new hire because it will allow you to see if a potential candidate will bring the right skill set, interests and personality to not only meet your employment need, but excel in the position.
Encourage employee engagement
A recent Gallup poll showed that in any given organization, only about a third of the workforce feels engaged at work. For current employees, an environment that encourages two-way communication and rewards employee initiative can keep job satisfaction levels high. For new employees, an onboarding experience that includes an emphasis on collaboration and welcomes input will help establish a sense of engagement as the new employee learns the ropes.
Understand the need for flexibility
Employees value a sense of flexibility and mobility to balance their work and personal lives. Giving employees some latitude in how and when they get work done, with an emphasis on the end result, can help retain your best employees and encourage top talent to seek you out.
Make your recruiting and hiring process as efficient as possible
First impressions do matter: The Society of Human Resource Management reports than 70 percent of workers are likely to stay at a new job for three or more years if they have a positive onboarding process. When hiring for a new job, does your company respond promptly to candidates? Do you make hiring decisions in a reasonable amount of time? When bringing on a new hire, are your processes streamlined and efficient or do they include endless hours of pre-employment orientation and paperwork? Those first few tasks create a strong, lasting impression on new employees and can set the tone for how they view your company.
Understand the generational differences in how we communicate and work
All stereotypes aside, each generation in the workforce does have generalized communication and feedback preferences. Depending on your workforce, you may need to brush up on their generational preferences – some prefer more independent working environments while others prefer more direction. But there are two things that workers of all ages value: constructive feedback and praise.
Give your wage and benefit package a checkup
Numerous studies show that employees consistently rank job satisfaction higher than wages, but compensation is important. If your company is a compensation leader, or offers a better-than-average benefit package, you’ll naturally be at the top of candidates’ lists. And don’t overlook low-cost perks – these small efforts can boost an overall package to the next level.
Embrace technology, and keep it up to date
Today’s employees expect that technology will be a part of their jobs and with that expectation is that any equipment will be efficient and up-to-date. Ensuring that computers, software, printers and any issued equipment are current and in good working order is not just a capital investment, it’s an investment in employee job satisfaction and efficiency.
Offer opportunities for personal development
Smart employers value smart employees, and offering opportunities for continuing education and advancement are key for keeping long-term employees. Small businesses may not offer a large career ladder to climb, but they can offer the ability for employees to become experts in what they do and learn new skills.
Listen to current employee feedback, good and bad
It takes a lot for employees to provide feedback, especially negative feedback. If you’re hearing common themes from employees, listen carefully: it may be an area that needs extra attention. Positive feedback is also a great way to ensure your business is on the right track. An employee that feels as if his or her opinion is valued is an employee that will stay.
We hope you found these tips helpful. If you have found other ways to attract and retain top talent, we would love to hear about them in the comments below!