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Strategies for Retaining and Engaging Employees

When growing your small business, employing a new team member is like adopting someone into your family. Finding the right employee to fit in with a small team can take time and a lot of patience. So once you’ve secured a great employee, the next step is to make sure they want to stay.

The key to any retention strategy is engagement. An engaged employee will be more productive and committed, resulting in better customer service. In fact, according to a Towers Perrin Talent Study, the more engaged employees are, the more likely they are to put customers at the heart of what they do and how they think about their jobs.  

The reality is that you’ll lose employees as time goes on; however there are some great strategies which you can implement to ensure you do the best job possible to keep them for as long as you can.

Ten Steps to Retaining and Engaging your Employees 

1. Be Clear About What is Expected from your Employees

People like structure. Make sure that your employees have a list of duties of what is expected of them when they start the role and continue to evaluate that list as their role evolves.

2. Provide the Materials and Equipment Needed to do Great Work 

If an employee does not have the right tools to do their job then they’ll become frustrated and unproductive. If you do not have the materials and equipment they need, then work with them to find a solution.

3. Provide Ways for Employees to do what they do Best Every Day  

If an employee shows a particular skill or passion in one area of their job, try to create as many outlets for them to do that task as possible. Providing those outlets will not only be motivating for the employee but will likely increase their productivity.

4. Be a Leader Who Cares about your Employees 

Build a relationship with your employees and find out what makes them happy. Whether it’s flexible working hours or a new coffee pot; find out what’s important to them and try to make it happen. Your commitment to them will reflect on their commitment to your business. 

5. Build an Environment Where your Employees Share a Commitment to the Values and Vision of your Business 

Engagement starts with you. If you’re excited and inspired about your business, your employees will be too. If you are a team player who helps others on the team achieve their goals, your employees will do so as well. Lead by example and you’ll motivate and engage your employees to push your business forward.

6. Provide Opportunities for Career and Skill Development 

No one wants to be stuck in a rut. If your business cannot afford to fund training, visit the WorkBC website to find out about the funding programs available for employee development.

If there are no relevant funding programs, create a learning environment within your business. Encourage employees to mentor each other and teach new skills to their coworkers.  Champion employees who take on responsibility and give them support to help them succeed.

7. Provide Ongoing Performance Feedback, Recognition and Acknowledgment 

Feedback in a manager-employee relationship is key. Make sure each team member knows what you want them to achieve and schedule regular reviews. If they complete their tasks or surpass them, show them the recognition and acknowledgment they deserve. It will make them inspired to do even better.

8. Instil a Sense of Purpose and Direction in Each Employee

Make sure each employee knows what or how they contribute to the business. Outline how they help the business achieve its goals and how they can do more to push the business in the right direction.

9. Provide Constant Communication and Transparency Between the Leaders and the Employees

Like in all relationships, communications is crucial. By being open and honest with employees you’ll encourage them to do the same. This will help reduce the opportunities for misunderstandings and unhappiness in the workplace.

10. Look for Ways to Support a Balanced Work/Life Schedule

When most people are asked what they would like to achieve in their next job role, the answer is generally the same: a greater work/life balance. But what this means is different to different people. Speak to your staff and find out what they would like. If it means banking overtime for extra vacation, or leaving early on a Friday to extend their weekend, your flexibility will be reflected in how flexible they are with you.

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