As a small-business owner, you may think you know a thing or two about how to retain good employees. But if you were 100% sure, you wouldn’t be reading this. Most of us tend to think — consciously or otherwise — that others must want the same things we want. So if you prioritize money over time or ends over means, you may expect that your employees do too. But that’s not always the case.
Let’s discuss what’s really important to today’s employees.
A competitive salary speaks louder than almost any other aspect of employment. That’s because money is the main reason people work. Sure, some people work to keep themselves busy or for the prestige that goes along with their job (or the health insurance), but most people exchange their blood, sweat and tears for cold, hard cash they use to pay their rent or mortgage and put food on the table.
For this reason, you have to stay abreast of what the standard is in your field and in your area, and what your competitors are paying. If you fall behind, you run the risk of losing your best employees to other companies that pay better — or you may never even get the chance to hire a truly good worker.
If you aren’t located in a big city, this could greatly impact your business’s success and growth. You could become known early on as cheap, and smart workers will avoid you. Pay your employees fairly if you want them to stay, and pay them well if you want them to be happy about staying.
2. Positive Working Environment
Having a bad boss or a stressful working environment has been consistently ranked as one of the top stressors in life, right up there with divorce, death and serious illness. And no wonder — most of us spend 40 hours a week working, and if you’re subjected to micromanagement, bullying, harassment or worse, those 40 hours could seem like 400. No money is worth that type of stress, and it’s the biggest reason employees quit.
It’s important to treat your employees with respect, but you must ensure that your employees treat each other with respect as well. Not only is it the right thing to do, but failing to protect employees from sexual harassment or harassment due to race, gender, sexual orientation or a host of other qualities and factors can open you up to a lawsuit.
Apply the golden rule with your employees, as you do in life, and treat them as you would want to be treated. Give them autonomy, allow them a good work/life balance and don’t pressure them to produce more than is reasonable.
3. Paths for Advancement and Growth
Dead-end jobs are so named for a reason — once you get them, you’re stuck. Even before you hire an employee, think about ways their role at your company could expand over time. You don’t necessarily need to reveal these ideas during the job interview, but it’s good to be prepared in case anyone asks. Additionally, once you hire an employee and see them in action, your ideas about how their job could shift might change. They may have ideas of their own as well.
Once you establish good and trusting relationships with your employees, you may even want to invest in their education, helping to pay for them to get additional training, certificates or even another degree.
Employees want to feel valued, and one way to help ensure that happens is to give them added responsibility, along with better compensation, a new title and maybe even their own office.
Benefits are critically important to most employees, and almost all full-time employees. Living in a nation where healthcare is far from guaranteed — almost 10% of Americans have none — most workers depend on their employer for this all-important avenue to staying alive and well.
Vacation days — or paid time off — is also in short supply throughout the U.S., so providing your employees time for rest and relaxation is definitely appreciated.
Also prized: retirement plans. The idea that saving for retirement is a luxury few can afford has become antiquated. A little more than half of U.S. workers have access to a retirement plan like a 401(k) at work. That’s a pretty dismal statistic, when you consider that so much of retirement income goes to supplemental health insurance and prescription meds. A major roadblock has been the time and expense associated with sponsoring a 401(k) plan for employees, making it all but unaffordable for small-business owners.
That’s where 401GO comes in. We work with small-business owners, helping them to set up a 401(k) in minutes instead of weeks or months, and the fees are nominal. If you think this sounds too good to be true, you can read about us in U.S. News & World Report. We’re here to help you help your employees (and yourself) save for retirement. Browse our site today and see how easy it is.