7 ways your small business can retain staff

7 ways your small business can retain staff

If you run your own small business, you’ll know all too well the struggles of recruiting team members and then holding on to them.

With limited resources – certainly, when compared to larger entities – small businesses need to make sure they are retaining their best employees, to avoid costly turnover and to maintain a competitive edge. After all, it’s highly likely that if someone is leaving you, they’re jumping ship to a competitor.

In this post, we look at the different ways you, the small business owner, can keep your valued team together. Let’s get started.

Pay a fair wage

Let’s start at the obvious place. You should treat your team members as assets that need to be looked after, rather than an expense, and the key way to do this is to give them a decent wage.

When you consider the cost of recruiting new staff and then training them (£62,890 per year, per employee) it makes good business sense to provide a wage that attracts and then retains staff.

We’re in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis. Well-paid employees are in a better position to look after themselves mentally and physically – something your business will benefit from.

Show a clear path to growth

If you want to hold onto your most highly motivated team members, you’re going to need to demonstrate to them that they can fulfil their potential within your business.

Every employee is different, but you’ll soon find that the ones who can truly help you build a successful business are the ones who want to feel like they are growing and developing in their careers, and if you can’t provide this, they are going to look elsewhere.

As a small business, opportunities for promotion may be limited. If this applies to your business, you should look into other avenues for professional growth, such as training qualifications, mentoring, and job shadowing. Providing these opportunities will help motivate your team and ultimately, encourage them to stick around.

Cultivate a great culture

Recent data suggests that 46% of job seekers consider a company’s culture to be an important factor when looking for work, with 86% of workers avoiding companies that have a bad reputation.

It’s common sense. If someone isn’t enjoying the environment in which they work, they will leave.

As the leader of the business, it is your duty to provide the steer for this culture – every single interaction matters. This isn’t just about holding a monthly pizza afternoon or putting some money behind the bar a couple of times a year (although it will help!). It’s about promoting a workplace where people are valued, rewarded, respected, listened to and have fun.

By making your employees feel part of a team, they are more likely to stay with the company.

Provide work-life balance

As the owner of a small business, it’s understandable if your work-life balance is slightly off-kilter. It’s your baby and you are responsible for it. However, it’s unfair and unrealistic to expect this single-mindedness from your staff, and will only drive them away.

Your employees having a life away from work is not a sign that they’re unmotivated – it’s a sign that they’re human. By encouraging a healthy work-life balance, long-term you will be rewarded as your team will be healthier, happier, more likely to ‘dig in’ when it really is necessary, and yes – more likely to stay with you.

Promote a good work-life balance in your business by offering flexible and hybrid working, monitoring team members who are constantly working out of hours (and talking to them about this if necessary), not sending emails out of hours (and if you do, make it absolutely clear that you don’t expect a response), and demonstrating that you are flexible if personal issues do arise.

Keep your business at the top of its game

The best people will want to work for the best companies, so you need to ensure that your company is the place to work within your industry, and if it’s not, show that you strive to be the best.

Stay on top of the latest trends, invest in the best equipment, and always be on the lookout for new opportunities. Make innovation one of the key values in your company and reward the team members who consistently contribute to the evolution of your business.

Being comfortable will not appeal to your best people, they will want to challenge themselves – and if you’re not able to do this, they will look elsewhere? and that could be your competition.

Promote inclusivity and transparency

No one likes to be excluded. Try and be as forthcoming as possible about the latest developments in your business. Whether this is new recruitment initiatives, team restructuring, upcoming partnerships, and so on.

Be inclusive with your plans by hosting regular all-team catchups, where you can update everyone on your latest strategies. This will help develop an ‘all in it together’ attitude that will help motivate your employees and again, enhance your company culture.

You need to make it clear to every person in your company that they are an invaluable part of your team, and key to the success of the business.

Be a brilliant boss

Finally, you need to be an inspirational leader.

Listen to everyone. Give positive feedback. Provide a vision of where you want to take the business. Offer constructive criticism when you must. Trust your employees. Don’t micromanage. Show empathy. Look out for signs of stress. Get to know everyone’s personality.

A recent study in the US suggests that 50% of workers quit their boss, not their job. This is huge. As a small business owner, you probably played a major role in attracting good people to your company. Likewise, you will play a major role in getting them to stay.

Everything that we’ve covered in this post is redundant if you’re not being a great boss.

You’ve got this!

Thanks for reading

We hope you have found this post helpful.

Here at 1st Formations, we help business owners start, run and grow their companies. If you would like to read more posts like this, take a look at our dedicated blog page, and of course – please get in touch if you are thinking of taking the plunge and starting your own business. We can help.