Tips for Small Businesses to Cultivate Loyalty and Increase Employee Retention
Here are a few ways that employers can adjust their business model to help retain current employees and attract high-quality talent.
Nicknamed “The Great Resignation,” many businesses are grappling with employee retention and struggling to hire. The U.S. Labor Department’s monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey reported there were 10.4 million job openings in August and more than 4.3 million people leaving their jobs. These statistics are especially alarming for small businesses that may not be able to compete with competitive wages and benefits like the big box corporations. Coupled with shipping and service delays, business owners are also at risk of losing loyal customers due to these unforeseen circumstances.
The first step business owners should take if they are struggling to hire is to focus on retaining their valuable, current employees. Poor pay, lack of growth opportunities and not feeling valued are some of the most common reasons that employees leave a job. A great place to start working on retention is asking employees to fill out anonymous feedback and talking to them every quarter about their career goals. Business owners should encourage their workers to share their aspirations and values. If small businesses are receiving negative feedback, it’s important to take swift action to implement changes to make the staff feel seen.
The pandemic had countless effects on work structures, with one of the biggest being the move to a more flexible work environment. Small businesses that can offer flexibility to their employees should do so to provide a better work-life balance. Otherwise, turnover can start to happen when a company is not able to keep up with the changing marketplace.
After business owners speak with their current staff and ensure that their benefits, pay and flexibility are competitive with the industry, it is time to set up an online profile for hiring. When attracting new talent, the first place many will look is a company’s website and reviews. A great way for small business owners to get both new employees and more customers is through improving their website. When customers visit a website, it should accurately represent the brand and the values the company stands behind.
The most popular platforms to look at reviews include Google My Business, Facebook, Yelp and Bing. According to Google, Google My Business listings are 70% more likely to attract local visits and will increase a business’s sales and web traffic. Potential future employees and customers also pay special attention to negative reviews, which is why it's important to monitor and respond to everything that comes through on the platforms mentioned above.
Before small businesses spend a single dollar on ads for hiring, it's important to know the type of employees a company is hoping to target. Know who they are, and where they are: Are they on social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Indeed or Instagram? If a business is advertising on LinkedIn, but the right employees are on Indeed, then the business is losing money.
Being strategic about employee retention and hiring can make or break a small business. Setting up the current employees for success and making them feel valued should always be a company’s number one priority. Small business owners face many hurdles right now, but with a strong team, anything is possible.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor