To build a startup into a solid venture, and a more established small business into a bigger one, you need to excel in many areas. For example, it’s necessary to achieve when it comes to customer service, sales, marketing, product or service delivery, and more.
In particular, though, it’s hard to get ahead if you don’t surround yourself with the right team and follow strategies to drive this workforce to greatness. To get the most out of your employees, you must improve morale and ensure you retain workers for the long term. Having a high turnover rate is costly in all sorts of ways, and is something to avoid at all costs.
Happily, even when you’re running a small business with limited budgets, you can still do things to retain your top team members. Here are some things to focus on today.
Thank Workers and Acknowledge Their Efforts
Thank your workers regularly for their efforts and results. Acknowledge not only what they achieve for the company, but also their hard work, creativity, and commitment (such as the times when they go above and beyond to help out). While many entrepreneurs limit expressing their appreciation to only when people achieve great results, this is short-sighted. Your team members hope to feel valued for more than just making the company money.
There are numerous ways to thank and acknowledge employees. What you choose to do depends on your leadership style, the workers, and the situation. However, it’s nice to have personal, one-on-one conversations with people where you talk to them about how much you appreciate what they’re doing. If workers are based elsewhere, write a heartfelt letter or email, arrange a video conference chat, or pick up the phone.
You might also decide to give a shout-out to top team members more publicly. Thank people in team meetings, via company newsletters or events, or even on social media. Just make sure that, regardless of how you to acknowledge staff members, you’re genuine, specific, and timely in your comments.
Hand Out Awards
The next level is to hand out awards for performing and productive workers. Everyone likes to feel special, so handing out awards goes a long way towards doing this. You might set up a structured Employee of the Month program or some other regular awards ceremony, or you can be more flexible with this strategy and hand out awards as and when you think a person and situation warrants it.
Either way, don’t skimp on the actual physical awards you present. Always buy quality employee recognition awards that show people you’ve put time, thought, and finances into the purchase, rather than picking up something cheap and nasty at the last minute.
Choose from things like plaques, trophies, glass or metal statuettes, etc. Alternatively, if it suits your brand and company culture, you might design a specific award item that relates somehow (e.g. in shape or theme) to what the business sells or its key tagline or brand message.
Provide Growth Opportunities
Another tip is to provide valued staff members with growth opportunities. Doing this not only enables them to develop as employees and build their resumes, but also helps ensure they don’t get bored in their roles. To stay with a company, people need to get outside of their comfort zones and keep being challenged. They should have the chance to build new skills and enhance their knowledge set and experience.
Some suggestions for providing opportunities for people to develop include:
- Moving them around the organization, trying new roles and work locations
- Invite speakers to come into the company to inspire, motivate, and educate employees
- Set up mentoring programs in-house or externally
- Give employees the chance to represent the company at key business events
- Run in-house training programs or provide people with time off work and/or financial investment to complete external educational courses
Give People Perks and Rewards
Staff members are also keen to receive perks and rewards from employers. Cash bonuses are received well but if you have a small budget, you can still make people feel valued by offering perks like extra time off (e.g. for birthdays or to enjoy long weekends, etc.), free meals, free or discounted health-related benefits such as massages and exercise programs, free parking, and so on.
As for rewards, even with limited funds, you can still hand out personalized gifts that show people you care, and you notice them and their efforts. Wherever possible give people items related to their interests, hobbies, familial status, and lifestyle. For example, reward a keen golfer with a VIP day at a top local golf course or a movie-lover with a booklet of free movie tickets.
Retaining your staff members takes time, effort, thought, and some money. However, by being committed to this process, you’ll radically increase the likelihood that your team do their best on the job and continue working in your business long term.