How To Be a Different Employer 


and create a great place to work

The cost of hiring and training the right employees can be a burden on small-to-medium-sized businesses. The cost of writing a job role, an advertisement, hiring an agency, and interviewing is calculated in terms of time and dollars.

Retaining staff in small to medium-sized businesses can be challenging; however, there are ways company leaders can retain their valued employees and create a workplace in which people want to be part. These changes to the modern work environment make it easier for valued employees to remain in the workplace when other demands, such as personal life circumstances and commitments, require more attention as we age. As employees enter different stages of their lives, demands on their time and energy will shift. Retaining highly trained and capable staff means finding ways to accommodate those changes without sacrificing the quality of work your company produces.

Competitive Compensation and Benefits

Fair Wages: Ensure salaries are competitive within the industry and region. Different skills demand different remuneration, but that isn’t the only factor in determining wages. Some people bring unique skills, abilities, or qualities worth investing in. When you recognize that a team member or even the whole team is unique to your business’s success, you must recognize this with pay that reflects those qualities.

Benefits: Offering health insurance, retirement plans, extended paid time off, wellness programs, and childcare assistance shows that your company cares about the well-being of its employees.

Work-Life Balance

Flexible Schedules: Allow for flexible working hours and remote work options. When you give your team members time to manage their life, take care of their health, and participate in the activities that matter to them, you create a sense of gratitude and commitment in your employees. Having an open mind about how your employees can contribute without them taking advantage of the time offered engenders an employee with a renewed commitment to their work and a more focused approach to task completion.

Time Off: Encourage employees to take vacation days and offer mental health days. Well-rested, relaxed, and comfortable workers are productive and creative workers who are invested in their contribution. Time off for holidays and even just a long weekend can give people a fresh approach. The length of time you sit at a desk or on a task is not indicative of the outcome. A commitment to work is important, not a commitment to hours.

Positive Work Environment

Culture: Foster a positive, inclusive, and supportive work culture. As a business leader, it is important to investigate your personal values and understand yourself and how your perceptions and attitudes will influence your employees. Creating an inclusive culture does not mean censorship of people or ideas; rather, it means allowing people to speak freely without allowing abuse or harassment and within the reasonable limits of propriety according to the national culture in which your business operates.

Workplace Safety: Ensure a safe and comfortable work environment. From air conditioning to hardhats, employers need to consider not only compliance with workplace health and safety standards but also how they can make minor adjustments to improve safety standards, such as longer or extended breaks, alternatives to workplace attendance in extreme weather, and even providing access to regular movement opportunities for those in office work.

Career Development Opportunities

Training Programs: Provide continuous learning opportunities and professional development. When employees have goals and targets to achieve, they remain engaged in their work and willing to work. By offering training, you offer an opportunity for career development and personal development. By providing such opportunities, employees actually feel loyalty to their employer.

Career Pathing: Help employees see a clear path for advancement within the company. When an employee seeks a career with your company, provide them with the path to achieve their goals. When you take the time to map a path for an employee, it makes the steps that are required of them to advance clear and tells them that they are an asset to the business.

Recognition and Rewards

Appreciation: Regularly recognize and reward employees’ hard work and achievements. This can be as simple as praising people for a job well done or thanking individuals for their contribution to a project. Recognition is a simple way to make employees feel secure and appreciated.

Incentives: Implement incentive programs such as bonuses, profit-sharing, or stock options. Highly valued employees should be well rewarded financially when they contribute to the success of your company. Bonuses and pay rises make people feel valued when they have made sacrifices to achieve goals for your business.

Employee Engagement

Feedback: Regularly seek and act on employee feedback through surveys and meetings. When employees feel heard, they feel respected. While catering to every team member is not advisable, listening to concerns or desires and taking appropriate actions can generate feelings of solidarity and loyalty.

Involvement: Involve employees in decision-making processes and strategy sessions. Having involvement in the workplace empowers employees and creates a sense of responsibility connection. People who are invested in developing their workplace environment are also more inclined to stay with the company long-term.

Good Leadership

Effective Management: Train managers to be supportive, communicative, and fair. The saying that ‘the fish rots from the head down’ is an important adage to be remembered. Good leaders inspire the best from their teams.

Transparency: Maintain open and honest communication about company goals, challenges, and successes. If employees sense trouble for the company but aren’t informed, they might decide to leave, putting your business in danger. Talking about your goals and challenges inspires employees to work hard to secure the company’s future.

Workplace Perks

Amenities: Provide perks like free snacks, coffee, or gym memberships. Making the workplace a comfortable environment is relatively easy and encourages employees to engage in the office and enjoy their time at work, which can inspire creativity and promote productivity.

Events: Organize team-building activities, social events, and company outings. Team building is good for your business and for the morale of your employees. People with common interests or connections based on more than work tend to be more invested in their jobs, find resolutions to disagreements easier, and build trust that benefits your business overall.

Work Autonomy

Empowerment: Give employees the autonomy to make decisions and take ownership of their work. Micromanagement undermines people’s sense of autonomy and diminishes their confidence. If you want the best from your team, allow people to make mistakes, learn new things, and grow without smothering them.

Trust: Build a culture of trust where employees feel confident in their roles. Where possible, allow people to take control of their work without having to answer to others in a way that diminishes their work. While it is acceptable that employees be given direction and guidance, especially when they underperform or make an error, the communication should be respectful and understanding so you can find the reason for the error, be it a lack of training, focus, or personal block.

Clear Communication

Regular Updates: Keep employees informed about company performance, changes, and news. When employees understand the business’s and industry’s health, they can make informed choices that benefit your business.

Open Door Policy: Encourage open lines of communication between staff and management. Managing people’s personalities, personal needs, and work commitments is easier when your team feels that leaders are approachable and understanding. Every member of your team will face a crisis, such as grief, illness, or other emotional upheaval, and by encouraging employees to be open about their situation and needs, you can manage the workplace to ensure teams feel supported and remain highly productive.

By implementing these strategies, small to medium-sized businesses can create a more attractive and satisfying work environment, leading to higher employee retention rates. High retention rates benefit your business not only financially but also with experienced teams who are committed to your business success.


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