In August 2021, after several national surveys were conducted from various sources, it was reported that on average 55-65% of the American workforce were actively looking for new employment. A survey conducted by Monster in July of 2021 concluded that an alarming 95% of workers are considering new employment. This startling shift is being coined as “The Great Resignation.”
As a small business owner, how do you keep your business from falling victim to the costly “Great Resignation”? Creating employee retention strategies can aid in tackling excessive turnover, promote job satisfaction and should be a part of a business’ plan and roadmap. While competitive salaries and benefit packages are often the first go-to thought to retention, that’s not always possible for many of our small business clients.
There is a direct link to effective leadership and employee retention. Leaders should be engaged and communicative with staff to promote a level of respect, trust and value. Make it a point to ask employees what they like about their job, what areas could use improvement and whether they have all the tools they need to be successful in their position. Conduct exit interviews with departing employees. Learn what their points of contention were when making the final decision to leave your business. As a manager, responses and feedback can often be difficult to hear, but I encourage you to explore them with an open and reflective mind.
Below are some low-cost considerations when thinking about your employee retention strategies. These items affect the culture in a business. An organization’s culture is critical to employee satisfaction and begins and ends with leadership.
- Adequate training and development programs
- Employee highlights, recognition, reward system
- Work-life balance boundaries—understand your employees have a life outside of work and encourage them to set boundaries to maintain that balance
- Providing a level of flexibility
- Emphasis on teambuilding
- Create and promote a trust environment
- Provide and communicate growth opportunities for career advancement
Employee retention should be a top priority for small business. Excessive turnover is costly both in time and in dollars, but also is stressful for the entire team. Retaining your top talent creates efficiencies, supports a strong culture and can lead to increased production. Keep “The Great Resignation” at bay by developing strategies that support employee satisfaction, retention, and pride in one’s position.
Lindsay Young has a Master in Business Administration, with an emphasis in strategic management. She is the director of the UHV Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The UHV SBDC is part of a nationwide small business assistance program serving the small business community and federal, state and local governments. The center offers counseling, training and technical assistance to existing and start-up businesses in an 11-county area. For more information regarding one-on-one counseling or training programs, please contact the UHV SBDC at 361-485-4485 or firstname.lastname@example.org.