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12 ways to ensure your best employees never want to leave

Keep your best employees happy with these 12 tips.


March 3, 2008
By Canadian Pizza

Topics

Every entrepreneur knows the hectic lifestyle that comes
along with starting and running a company. (Heck, most of us live for
the craziness!)

Every entrepreneur knows the hectic lifestyle that comes along with starting and running a company. (Heck, most of us live for the craziness!)

But have you ever considered how this work schedule affects your employees? You can bet the fate of your business on the fact that they don’t enjoy the long hours or the days (and nights) they must unexpectedly come into your business to handle the latest emergency.

If too many such days come and go without any acknowledgment from you, you can bet they’ll be handing
out their resumés all over town. And since your employees make or break your business, you must keep your best ones around.

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“Employees of small businesses are often asked to go way beyond the call of duty,” says communications expert Ty Freyvogel. “And they usually do it without receiving huge paychecks.

But not being able to pay hefty salaries doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of a million other ways to create happy, loyal employees.”

Small business owners may feel that they are at a disadvantage compared to CEOs of large corporations precisely because of the lack of deep pockets. But Freyvogel, who recently launched the business advice website MakingSenseofYourBusiness.com, says nothing is further from the truth. Because they work so closely with their employees, rather than being separated by layers of bureaucracy, it is easy for them to get to know their employees well.

“You know your employees’ points of pain and you know what makes them happy. If you use this information to meet the special needs of your employees and even surprise them with a few extra perks, you will be able to build strong relationships with them – and they, in turn, will be willing to go the extra mile for you.”

Here are 12 ways to keep your overworked and (perhaps) underpaid employees loyal to you and your company:

1. Provide them with much-deserved time off. Time off doesn’t have to translate to the business being understaffed for the day. There are all kinds of ways to give your staff a little break without slowing the business down.

2. Give them bonuses at critical times. Presumably, you work closely with your employees and know
a lot about their lives outside of the work. Act on this knowledge in ways that benefit them exactly when they need it most. “If one of your employees has a new baby or a sick spouse or child, a bonus will help ease the financial burden during these times,” says Freyvogel.

3. Be flexible. Your employees are working hard to make your business the best. The least you can do is be flexible when they have to take unexpected time off or need to work a new schedule. If an employee is having a personal problem, help him create a work schedule that allows him to solve his problems without feeling like he is going to be in trouble with the boss.

4. Be sensitive about their strengths and weaknesses. Carefully evaluate where your employees do their best work, and ask them what jobs they feel the most comfortable doing. For example, if an employee isn’t a people person, chances are she won’t excel working the front of the pizzeria. And you wouldn’t want non-people people to be handling your customers anyway. If an employee expresses an interest in getting trained for a different job, by all means get them trained! If your employees feel passionate about their jobs, it increases the chances that they’ll want to keep working for you.

5. Help them better themselves (and in turn improve your business). You can do this by paying for employees to take a class that will help them improve on their job skills or on something that interests them – even something unrelated to their current position. Or take an interest in their health. Provide your employees with health club memberships or enroll in a business-wide wellness program that everyone (including you) will take part in.

6. Feed them. A free meal every now and then is one of the easiest (and most appreciated) perks an employer can provide.

7. Constantly recognize a job well done. “Typically, people who are interested in working for small businesses are driven more by recognition than by dollars,” says Freyvogel. “Never miss an opportunity to give your employees the recognition they deserve. And when a client compliments an employee’s work, never steal the credit – be sure to pass the glowing review along to the rightful owner.”

8. Make them feel like owners. Nurturing your employees to love your business as much as you do will strengthen your company’s foundation – and your business will be that much more likely to survive setbacks and grow to great heights.

9. Make sure they have everything they need to do their jobs.

10. Pamper them. Show your employees that you know working for you and your business can be stressful by providing a free spa treatment every once in a while – even once a month – if you can afford it. Female employees, especially, will love this perk. If your male employees aren’t particularly interested spa treatments, consider other, more masculine ways to help them unwind, such as tickets to a sporting event.

11. Help them leave if it isn’t the right job for them. Working in a pizzeria isn’t for everyone. If
you notice that one of your employees is struggling in the environment or simply isn’t happy, talk with them
about whether or not your business is the right place. If you collectively decide that it isn’t, help them find a
more suitable job. How does helping an employee leave build loyalty?

“Well, the exiting employee will spread the word about what a great boss you are,” says Freyvogel. “Plus, your other employees will see that you are a caring and understanding employer, even when someone
is ready to move on. Seeing how well you treat other employees, even those on their way out, will make
others think twice about leaving – believe me, not all employers are so gracious.”

12. Provide employee attendance incentives. It’s likely that your best employees are high performers who come in even when they’re feeling a bit under the weather, and don’t hesitate to come in on the
occasional day off to take care of an emergency. These are the employees who deserve attendance benefits.

“All of the perks in the world won’t mean anything if you don’t show your employees the respect they deserve,” says Freyvogel. “As the owner, you can’t treat your employees like cogs in a machine and expect them to keep coming back to you. Frequently ask them what they think about certain areas of the business. And if at all possible, implement their ideas and suggestions – there is no more powerful way to say ‘I value you.’

“Your employees are your greatest asset. Anything you can do to ensure that they stick with you is worth it.
As you can see from the examples, you don’t have to break the bank to show them a little extra appreciation. The loyalty these actions build between you, your employees, and your business will be priceless.”•


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