How to Keep Your Employees from Leaving

Throughout the recession, the majority of US companies were laying off employees rather than hiring them. They certainly weren’t worried about employees jumping ship. But as the economy begins to stabilize this situation is changing.

 

Online job search engine, LinkUp.com, reports that there are plenty of job openings out there and that the trend seems to be gaining momentum. The tide seems to be finally turning on the employer’s market. Now employee retention is key.

So how can you keep your employees from leaving. Though you might think that salary is the number one reason why employees quit their jobs, the truth is that most employees are more interested in “sentimental issues” like respect, culture and environment.

Consider the following factors that can affect job satisfaction and job retention:

  • Pay attention to the working conditions. The physical layout of your workspace and the quality of the work-related equipment available to use play a key role in keeping employees happy. Make sure that the office is pleasently decorated and maintained. Even small things, such as applying a fresh coat of paint, can make a difference. Moreover, you can’t expect your employees to take pride in their work if you don’t supply them with the proper tools and equipment to get the job done.

 

  • Create a pleasant corporate culture and working atmosphere. It is important for any business that involves employees to maintain certain values and standards.Establish a clear, written definition of your company’s missions and values, and make sure that your employees are aware of it. A company’s culture encourages employees to take pride in their work.

 

  • Make employee recognition a priority. It is human nature for people to want recognition for their input and hard work. Be sure to acknowledge the achievements of your staff members. By publishing praise in company newsletters or making such announcements at meetings, you are not only encouraging the object of your praise but his peers as well. Many companies hold contests to recognize the best employees in certain areas. Give prizes to the winners. Even something small like a gift certificate for a meal at a restaurant or a movie rental is enough to give your employee an appreciative glow.

 

  • Have an open dialogue with your employees. Your employees need to feel that you value their opinions. Try to have one-on-one meetings with as many of them as you can (depending on the size of your company). If you make an effort to implement some of their suggestions, they will surely feel more connected and loyal to their jobs.

 

  • Offer adequate employee compensation. In order to attract quality employees, keep your base pay competitive within the industry. You can encourage your employees through the use of a performance-based compensation plan. Compensation should be fair to all of your employees. Staff contribution deserves to be justly rewarded.

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Signs Your Employee is Going to Quit

 A good employee is one of a business’ most valuable assets, and loosing such an asset can be costly- especially when you factor in the expenses of hiring and training a new worker to fill a vacant position. But according to recent statistics, many workers across the U.S. want to quit their current jobs in search of greener pastures.

So how can a business owner tell if an employee is gearing up to quit? Here are some telltale signs to watch out for:

  1. Unexplained time off. Your seemingly healthy employee who repeatedly uses personal time off might be going to job interviews. This is particularly true of workers who use up a lot of vacation/sick time at the beginning of the year.
  2. Sudden change in dress code. An employee who shows up in a suit might be headed to an after-work job interview. Someone who arrives late or takes a long lunch dressed unusually formally could also be interviewing.
  3. Increase in private phone calls. If your employee frequently goes into conference rooms to take private calls, he or she might be speaking to recruiters or H.R. people.
  4. Too much time at the copy machine and printer. Does your employee seem to have a suspicious amount of clerical work? It’s possible that work involves cover letters and resumes.
  5. Secret meetings with co-workers. Your employee who keeps on having private whispered conversations with close colleagues could be sharing details of a job search.
  6. Isolation at work. Conversely, an employee who stops joining co-workers for lunch and after-work drinks is showing signs of disengagement from the workplace.
  7. Change in attitude. A team player who develops a negative attitude could be thinking of leaving. Watch for frequent complaints and other expressions of dissatisfaction.
  8. Change in work performance. An employee who starts performing poorly might have decided to leave the job. Someone who plans to change jobs will not be give great attention to current work assignments.

Often, when employees are considering quitting their job, they leave behind a trail of subtle (and at times blatant) messages pointing to that fact. Knowing how to quickly spot such employees is a vital first step to retaining them.

Check out the next post for some tips on how to keep your valuable employees from leaving.

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Are Your Employees Fulfilled at Work?

Employees who persistently clung to their jobs over the past couple of years are now becoming more inclined to leave their positions as the job market in the US shows clear indication of revival.

According to data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in February, the number of employees voluntarily quitting their jobs exceeded the number being fired for the first time since October 2008.

According to a poll conducted by human-resources consultant Right Management, at the end of 2009, a whopping 60% of workers said they intended to leave their jobs as soon as the market recovered. Although a natural turnover is only to be expected, 60% is a pretty significant volume. Many employees have been biding their time and waiting for happier days in order move forward in their careers. They would have liked to advance their careers earlier but due to the recession, most chose to hang on to their jobs even if they heard of a suitable vacancy.

The next three posts will be focused on the topic of employees: we will offer some telltale signs to look for that suggest your employees are thinking of leaving, provide some tips on how you can hang on to those unhappy workers as well as explain why a small business owner should bother hanging on to current workers in the first place.

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How Small Businesses Can Retain Employees in a Recession

In the midst of all the outrage surrounding AIG’s infamous bailout bonus packages, a surprising detail has emerged. The so-called “retention” bonuses were paid to 52 people who have packed up and left the company. Though one could perhaps argue that the people who left technically could afford to leave, and anyway they weren’t doing such a good job in the first place, it still raises two powerful questions: 1. How could the powers that be at AIG be so out of touch and unconcerned with employee performance?, and 2. Shouldn’t the “generous” benefits have made their employees more loyal to the company?

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It’s very clear to me that the two are connected…

Employee loyalty does not begin and end with benefits and perks. A benefits package is only one piece of a bigger picture. Employees also need to feel appreciated and noticed; they need communication and feedback; and they need to feel that the work they are doing is challenging, yet doable. Basically, it all boils down to the fact that employees need to feel that they and their contributions to the company are valuable. Once that is in place, it makes it easier (though still not easy) for employees to swallow any necessary reductions in benefits and compensation without immediately fueling dreams of leaving the company.

This should come as consoling news to small business owners who have been forced to cut back on employee benefits and have had to let go of employees in response to the recession. Many of these people are dealing with low employee morale and worry that key employees will leave once the economy rebounds.

So what can small business owners do to retain employees and keep up the morale in this recession? Here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Make employee recognition a priority. It is human nature for people to want recognition for their input and hard work. Some free or low-cost ideas include: personalized “thank you” notes, sending along a compliment made by a customer or co-workers, and giving out gift certificates to high-performers. But keep in mind here that your comments and actions should be sincere to have the desired effect.
  • Ask employees for feedback. Your employees are one of your most valuable assets. Ask them for advice on how they can do their jobs better and how the company as a whole can improve. You may be surprised to hear what ideas your employees can come up with. Even if an idea is not beneficial or feasible, you should still let your employees know that you considered what they had to say.
  • Keep your employees up-to-date. One important element in being able to allay your employees’ fears about their job security and to boost employee morale in general is to be open with your employees about where your company is holding in terms of its performance and finances. But there is one important caveat here. You will have to determine an appropriate balance between disclosing information and withholding it. Openness does not mean you have to tell your employees everything. You may need the assistance of an HR consultant to help you determine what to say and what not to.
  • Be creative about benefits. Though reductions to your employee benefits may be inevitable, it doesn’t mean that all is lost. Here are a few tips to reduce the expenses of your health care coverage without giving it up. You can also seek out low-cost seminars for your employees, such as having someone come in to speak about financial planning.