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How to Build a Booming Team of Satisfied, Motivated Employees If you want to ensure your best employees stick around for a while, focus on employee engagement and happiness.

By Chris Byers Edited by Dan Bova

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.


Employee retention is a key topic of discussion in the business world. Why? Because a company's long-term success depends on hard work and dedication from its workforce.

Developing processes, programs and solutions -- including a stellar human resources team -- to keep good employees on board should be a top priority for business leaders. The more a company can keep high-performing employees in their positions, the less it has to worry about the time and money required to recruit, hire and train replacements.

If you want to ensure your best employees stick around for a while, focus on employee engagement and happiness. Cultivating satisfied, motivated employees will help you build a strong, experienced team.

Related: Expert Tips For Efficient Employee Retention Strategy

At the Indiana-based software company I lead, we are faced with a great challenge when it comes to motivating our team members because half of them don't even live in the state! Roughly 50 percent of our workforce lives in various regions across the U.S., as well as Canada, Poland and the Netherlands.

So how are we building and maintaining a strong team? And how can you follow our lead? Here are three ways to lay the foundation:

1. Make a good first impression with employee onboarding.

Getting employees off to a great start with your company can have a positive impact on employee retention. Create a robust onboarding program that helps new hires get to know your company, other employees and notable products and services. Offer formalized training to get new employees up to speed on software systems or tools they will be required to use.

Make sure you establish open lines of communication during onboarding as well. You want new hires to assimilate to the team as quickly as possible and to feel comfortable approaching other employees with questions or concerns. Make sure they know who to contact for specific needs.

Your first impression can be a lasting impression, so it's best to shoot for a good one if you want employees to stick around long term.

2. Prioritize employee engagement.

Keeping employees engaged with the business and each other is extremely important when it comes to employee retention. Those who feel disconnected or undervalued will be the first to jump ship.

Related: How to Make Employee Engagement a Top Priority

You can prioritize employee engagement by building a strong corporate culture, giving employees open opportunities to ask questions or voice discontent, establishing positive working relationships among employees and offering rewards or praise where merited. Get your human resources department to plan fun company events, organize volunteer opportunities and conduct annual or semi-annual performance reviews. Get your leadership team to come up with core values or a culture code for your organization.

Most importantly, don't forget to check in with your employees. Issue an employee satisfaction survey periodically to gauge employee happiness and find out how engaged your workforce really is.

3. Create opportunities for employee growth.

If you expect your employees to stay at your company for the long haul, you need to have plans in place for their growth and advancement. Very few people will be content to stay in the exact same position for years on end. You want to hold on to employees who are interested in contributing to the forward movement of your company.

Encourage your employees to seek opportunities to gain new skills. Budget for annual conference attendance, offer tuition reimbursement for advanced education and allow time for personal growth projects. Make sure your employees know you value both personal and professional self-improvement.

Related: Invest in Growth: Your Employees' Growth, That Is

Making growth and advancement priorities at your company will help you develop strong leaders in-house. You'll be able to create new leadership roles that existing employees can fill. And your employees will be highly motivated to do what it takes to keep moving forward with your organization.

Chris Byers

CEO, Formstack

Chris Byers is the CEO of Formstack, an Indianapolis-based company offering an online form and data-collection platform. Prior to Formstack, Byers co-founded an international nonprofit that was built via remote relationships among partners in Europe, Africa and the United States.

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