How to Retain Employees?

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Small businesses, like all organizations, often struggle with their hiring and retention strategies. Owners and the Management spend a lot of their productive time dealing with human resource issues. However, unlike large organizations and MNCs, small businesses do not have dedicated human resource departments or executives to hire, retain and manage talent. The office HR rep is more often than not a shared resource. She is busy with other functions such as admin, purchase or client relations along with managing her HR duties. Hence, human resource management tends to be a neglected department. The need is felt when there is a sudden pressure to hire new talent or when an existing employee decides to move on. While hiring the right talent is very critical, our focus here will be on how to retain employees?How can a small business create value for employees?

Tips to retain employees

  • Fix your hiring process. Yes, the focus of this blog is retention. However, hiring the right talent is indeed the first step. Most small businesses fail to plan their hiring requirements. The result – they always issue urgent hiring requirements. The urgency does not allow adequate time to screen profiles, research and ensure the most suitable talent comes on board. It certainly is difficult for smaller companies to create hiring forecasts. Hence, it is recommended that you document the requirements for each job role that guides the hiring executive or agency. While documenting the job role which includes qualifications, roles and responsibilities, do not follow templates. Create a custom job description as suited for your company requirements and work culture. Make sure you include the non-negotiable terms as per the job role – qualifications, previous experience etc. Clarity of the job role will help the candidates understand what is required of them. This will help get more relevant applications for the position. If not for all roles, make sure to include a functional or practical test during the interview process wherever applicable. This not only helps in judging the functional skills of the candidate, it also helps the candidate better understand the requirements of the job and the company expectations.
  • Do not deny the “Honeymoon”? Do not ignore the importance of an employee on-boarding plan. Again, the plan has to be customized for your company size and availability of resources. However, let the new employees enjoy a brief honeymoon period where they get inducted into the company. Welcome them on the first day. Plan for a pleasant introduction. Take them around the facility. Have their workstation or workplace ready. A small welcome gift is ideal. Share with them the plan for day 1, week 1 and month 1. Once the plan is shared, make sure the plan is followed. It is important not to leave new employees “unattended” during the first couple of days. Do set expectations during the induction phase. Again, clarity of what is required and how it can be achieved is very important.
  • Schedule regular reviews. Every employee likes getting feedback. Ensure you schedule time for regular reviews where along with performance, you share positive feedback and tips for improvement with the employees. We often fail to give feedback and become the most important cause for non-performance. The review meetings should not become fault finding sessions. Ensure the feedback is constructive. It is important to document the review meetings.
  • Appreciate and Reward Good Performance and Behaviour. This again is missing in most organizations. We do not appreciate and reward as often as we criticize. The balance of the scale should be tilted more towards appreciation than criticism. After all, we are dealing with human resources. Reward here does not mean cash incentives or expensive gifts and holidays. It is not the value, it is the gesture that is more important. Make the employees feel welcome and valuable.
  • Help them plan their career. A lot of employees working in junior and mid level roles do not have someone to guide them professionally. As a business owner and manager, you could be the career coach they need. Once in a while, spend some time over a cup of coffee or lunch and discuss their future plans and goals. Give them updates about the industry – new trends, innovations, skills required etc. Help them GROW as a person and as as professional.
  • Seek inputs and advice. Involve your team in the decision making process. Every employee loves contributing to the company growth and success. Employees will surprise you with great ideas and initiatives once you let them participate in the improvement and decision making process. Make the process democratic to ensure employees get due credit and recognition for their ideas.
These are a few tips that help create value and retain employees. Please share your views and suggestions in the comments section.

By Nitesh Verma

Founder - Business Management Blog. I am an independent business strategy consultant, helping companies take data driven business decisions. My mission is to find and implement simple solutions for complex business problems.

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