Ask SCORE: Retaining Employees Plays Key Role in Success
After being in the long recession, with employment cutbacks and layoffs, we are now seeing the business climate improving.
As a result, competition for talented and skilled workers is increasing and is becoming more intense in many locations. And it's true that when the unemployment rate begins to decline, job migration increases.
Employment growth causes valuable longtime employees to perceive "greener pastures" elsewhere. And, if employees becomes unhappy with their current jobs, they are comfortable searching for - and finding - another position.
Retaining motivated, productive employees is a major concern for small business owners, as employees can play a key role in the growth and success of the enterprise. A survey by Robert Half International, conducted by an independent research firm, examined the reasons that "top" employees, those considered good performers by their bosses, left the business. Here's what they found:
n Limited advancement opportunity: 39 percent
n Unhappy with management: 23 percent
n Lack of recognition: 17 percent
n Inadequate salary or benefits: 11 percent
n Bored: 6 percent
n Lifestyle change, such as moving: 2 percent
n Other/don't know: 2 percent
The message for business owners is clear, says Max Messmer, CEO of Robert Half: "Helping top performers reach their goals is essential to keeping them. The best employees are ambitious and may not stay in a job long if it lacks growth potential."
Retaining good employees can be a challenge to small business, particularly when compensation or advancement is involved, but the challenge is not insurmountable. If promotions aren't an option at your business, you can still find ways to reward extra effort.
It doesn't have to be money. If budgets are tight, consider a more flexible schedule or larger workspace. Praise should be frequent and personalized, but it does not have to be costly or time consuming. A simple thank-you note can be an effective motivator.
Take the pulse of employee perceptions in your business. Are they happy doing what they do? Ask their opinions about their work environment and changes that might serve to enhance their loyalty.
Also remember that, like any other important business asset, employees require their own form of care and maintenance. Bringing in temporary help during crunch times is one way to ease the workload and prevent burnout.
Engage your employees in finding ways to add some fun to the workplace, especially for jobs that involve a lot of repetition. The resulting increase in morale and camaraderie will boost not only loyalty to your company, but also its productivity.
To learn more about employment issues facing your small business, contact SCORE, America's free and confidential source of small business mentoring and coaching. SCORE is a nationwide nonprofit association of experienced business people who provide free, confidential business counseling to small business owners.
The Sandhills chapter is active in counseling, mentoring and presenting free business seminars. If you wish to speak to SCORE about your business, please register as a client by entering your information at www.edmis-score.org/0364 and one of our counselors will contact you.
In addition to counseling by appointment, the Sandhills chapter of SCORE has drop-in service, for those who have registered, from 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Fridays at the Moore County Chamber of Commerce building on U.S. 15-501 in Southern Pines. The phone number is (910) 692-3926.
More information on SCORE's counseling activity can be found at the Sandhills SCORE website, www.sandhillsscore.org.
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