Employee Retention and Why it’s Critical for Small Businesses

Strategic Growth Concepts is pleased to present articles from time-to-time written by Human Resource related experts.  Our first article is from LaToya M. Palmer, an HR professional with  over 10-years of extensive experience in all aspects of Human Resources. She is President of the Michigan-based consulting firm, Palmer Solutions, LLC., which specializes in innovative HR solutions while also providing creative benefit management and payroll administration services.

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Many small to mid-size companies are ‘battening down the hatches’ during these economically tumultuous times. Major cost cutting efforts, re-organizations and layoffs are foremost on their lists of things to do. Unfortunately, employee retention in smaller organizations often times takes a back seat to financial concerns, mainly because business owners, already cash strapped, associate retention efforts with cash.  They are so busy watching the company’s coffers that they have taken their eyes off the most valuable asset, human capital.

Employees are getting lost in the shuffle at many companies when it comes to retention. Employers are counting on the fact that due to the turbulent economy, employees are “lucky to have a job.”  This may be true, however ‘when times start a’ changing’ these companies are going to experience a mass exodus of their top talent going right out the front door. Those forgotten stalwarts that were the bedrocks during the down times will be the trailblazing their way to companies that believe in retaining their top talent.

There are several cash-conscious ways to ensure that you are keeping an eye on the pulse of your organization:

  1. Communication: There is no such thing as too much information. You should be communicating to your employees in a constant regular stream. In our technologically advanced society, you can be cutting edge and use things like Twitter, blogs or your internal company website to keep employees informed about the business. There is also still credence in company newsletters and employee meetings.  Utilize different touch points to let your employees know that you want them to have a stake in what’s going on in the company.
  2. Employee Surveys: Companies should not be waiting for exit interviews to find out if there is a problem in their organization that needs to be addressed. By conducting semi-annual pulse surveys, and having strategic plans to make use of the information, companies will actively show employees that they value their opinions.
  3. Reward Employees: Many of you are sighing after reading the “reward your employees” header. Don’t sigh just yet. There are many ways you can reward employees without necessarily spending boatloads of money. So many, in fact, that people have written many books attributed to celebrating employees without spending much money. A few titles that stand out are: “1001 Ways to Reward Employees” by Bob Nelson, Ph.D; “301 Ways to have fun at work” by Dave Hemsath; “Managing to Have Fun: How Fun at Work Can Motivate Your Employees, Inspire Your Coworkers, and Boost Your Bottom Line” by Matt Weinstein.

You want your employees to be at your company because they are treated as stakeholders. Keep in mind, as business owners, for the long-term it helps our profitability to show our employees that they are valued through our actions and with our words, and translates to bottom line growth with low turnover rates and high marks for employee satisfaction.

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