Article by Phil Spensieri, The Alternative Board York Region
With many business owners experiencing challenges in locating skilled labourers, the number of possible job candidates seems to be decreasing. For small business owners looking for that “perfect” employee, hiring can feel like an expensive and cumbersome process.
When you do hire the right candidate, business owners like you are now looking for ways to keep employees invested in their company, and in their position. It’s not enough today, to be “employed.” Many employees today, particularly millennial’s, are not only looking for more flexibility in their jobs, but also for growth and perks.
In my decades of experience working with business owners, I have found that today, employers need to step up and consider the individual needs of each employee. Below, I’ve outlined three of my top recommendations to help you keep your valuable employees.
Communication is key
As a small business owner, you have the unique opportunity to engage with employees on a more personal level. I recommend that you hold regular team meetings with your employees to get a sense of how they are feeling in terms of support and direction. You may also wish to create in-office opportunities and perks, such as team building days, team lunches, or on-tap coffee in the lunch room. By asking how your employees feel, and letting them know that they are being heard, you are in a better position to engage in open two-way communication with your staff.
Depending on the size of your business, you or one of your managers may wish to sit down with each staff member regularly and ask them what’s most important to them and their career. In these discussions about their future plans and goals, you will likely discover some of your employees’ personal motivators, and how you can incorporate them into their professional life. This is an excellent way of making sure that your employees are getting what they need in terms of work/life balance.
A collaborative approach that includes in-depth, consistent communication with your employees, as well as the offering of incentives and perks, is the foundation for a working relationship that employees will want to continue being a part of in the future.
Demonstrate your appreciation
One of the best ways I’ve discovered in terms of keeping your employees committed to their job is to show them how much you appreciate them. This can mean a variety of things: it can mean expressing your appreciation personally, it can mean giving your team shorter hours during the summer, or it can mean half days on the Friday before a long weekend.
Appreciation can also be expressed in terms of offering your employees larger incentives, such as a group benefits plan. Although many business owners have voiced concerns that group benefit programs are for larger companies, to stay competitive in today’s market, this is something that you will want to consider.
More often than not, the value of group benefits far outweighs the additional cost.
Sometimes, employees will request something that doesn’t necessarily comply with your employee handbook. They could want extra vacation time, flexible work hours, or the option to work from home. In these cases, it’s important to consider these requests and find a solution that works for both your employee and your business overall.
For example, if an employee wants to work from home, determine the criteria for them doing so. You’ll need to determine if it is critical for them to work from the office and if you trust them to complete all necessary tasks from home. It can feel a little like a leap of faith to let an employee work from home, but it can also offer an opportunity for the employee to feel as though they are trusted by their employer, inspiring them to work harder in their role.
If your employees are happy, and their needs are met, they are less likely to leave. By maintaining an open door policy, you can ensure that the right people stay in your organisation, offering opportunities for increased company profit and growth.
Be a part of the business owner conversation on topics just like this, and consider becoming a part of a TAB board today.