According to a recent survey by OI Partners, 70 percent of companies say retaining talent is their top human resource challenge. Here are three creative strategies to keep valuable employees engaged in your company, without bumping up costs.
1. Be an active leader. Small business leaders shouldn’t lead from the sidelines. Cultivate an engaging work environment by taking a more active approach. Michelle Roccia, executive vice president of the Employee Engagement Division at WinterWyman, a staffing firm in Boston, Mass., says management should take the time to meet one-on-one with employees. “Schedule half an hour or an hour to get to know them on a personal basis,” she says. “That means a lot to employees. It’s not about business; it’s getting to know that person.”
Clara Lippert Glenn, President and CEO of The Oxford Princeton Programme, which provides training for energy professionals, makes an effort to take a small group of employees out for coffee to have open discussions about their concerns. “It’s a good chance to really hear what they’re thinking,” she says. “They feel that not only are they contributing, but that they’re also being heard.”
2. Develop community programs. Providing opportunities for employees to give back to the community is another effective way to retain and engage a workforce. “Whether it’s serving meals to the homeless or getting involved with various hospitals, it goes a long way,” Roccia says. Volunteering doubles as an effective team-building experience between employees and employers.
3. Value employees’ time. In efforts to preserve company talent, knowing what’s important to employees can make the difference in losing or gaining staff. “We found in our New Jersey operation that we had a lot of parents working for us, so we wanted to offer an environment where they could not feel guilty for having to leave early for their children’s school play,” Glenn says. When business owners are aware of their employees needs, workers will feel recognized and encouraged to perform better to help the business succeed.