May 31, 2016
~A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business. [Henry Ford]
For the St. Louis small business owner struggling to attract and retain that rare talented employee, this simple quote from Henry Ford may offer some insights into how to keep your best employees. There is a strong wind of change blowing in the distance and it is really influencing how employees (especially twenty and thirty something employees) decide where to work. In job retention nowadays, often times the soft benefits and a positive work environment can entice a valued employee to pass up higher paying opportunities.
From the time we are young children, we crave feedback and guidance. If we don’t receive that guidance (both the specific accolades acknowledging a job well done, and the constructive criticisms that help us grow as an individual and an employee) then we struggle to develop an awareness of our skills and we fail to improve areas that could be improved. In the work place, providing specific feedback allows employees to see that you notice and value them. When criticism is presented in a good way, it can demonstrate that you are trying to help your employees develop their skills! [This does not always involve just words.]
For example during the first day of my first tax season as an accountant, I was tearing post-it notes and using them to organize the documents from clients. When I came in on my second day, there was a package of post-it notes sitting on my desk that was the size that I had been tearing the big post-it notes to. Then when I thanked my boss for them, she stated that she really liked the way I had been organizing the tax documents that I had been processing!
Everybody knows that life sometimes happens, and try though we may, we cannot always keep it from happening during work hours. Having flexible working hours means recognizing this and working around it. For example, when an employee has a doctor’s appointment, needs to catch a noon religious service, or traffic is just terrible, allowing them to work slightly different hours on that day so that they can take care of their life but still work can boost employee job satisfaction and morale.
Another way to do this is to shift your focus from time worked to work completed. Some of the best employees are really efficient and effective at what they do. Sometimes they can produce almost double the amount of work that an average employee can. In those cases, allowing them to go home after their work is finished (with out docking their pay, if you can) will really show that you a). notice their hard work, and b). appreciate it!
Sometimes do social events with your team or as a team is great for boosting team morale and helping the team work together and gel. These are also the types of soft benefits that can really help an employee feel valued. [Not all of these need to cost money, but spending a little money to help your team work better together is almost always worth it!]
Free: Consider attending a networking event as a team, there are usually things like chamber of commerce meetings, charity events, or brunches that you can attend, host or volunteer at. On that note, picking a charity and doing a quarterly volunteering trip there could be a neat, but inexpensive way to bond as a team, or you could create a room escape game and play it in the office [with this one, let your creative side go wild].
Less free: The classics are dinner, sports games, concerts, and the like. However there are some more interactive and personal options, these are the more adventurous outings, like scuba diving, bungee jumping, zip lining, hiking, biking, floating, and horseback riding, to name a few. They key with doing adventure outings is to know your employees and what they would enjoy and be comfortable with!
What this all boils down to is one simple questions: how do you show your employees respect, trust, and appreciation?
The Volpe Consulting & Accounting Team