You know the famous quote “Good help is hard to find”. You have probably heard it at least a dozen times, if you are a business owner, you have maybe said it at least two dozen times. In the hiring market these days, it sometimes seems to apply. Sometimes you may feel like you are trying to find a needle in the haystack.
While it may be true that good talent is hard to find, keeping good talent may be harder. We are in an ultra-competitive job market. Oftentimes candidates tell me that they leave jobs for a better opportunity or better pay. I have found this especially true in the millennial generation (yes, my generation) and younger.
Once you find good talent, you want to keep them. Even though as a small business you aren’t Google or Apple providing an elaborate campus filled with a cafeteria or in-house yoga classes for employees, there are other ways to keep employees engaged without having to be elaborate or excessive. Your strategy can be different, but just as effective.
You have found the perfect candidate, that’s great! They fit the skills required for the job, they match the culture, and seem to be eager and all in. They have growth opportunities with the company and you feel that they will be a long-term fit. Now let’s keep them engaged!
Employee Engagement for the Small Business
Here are a few tips to keep employees engaged and invested.
- Be Intentional. This may be obvious, but as business owners you are juggling a million things on your plate, but don’t forget that part of investing in your business is investing in your employees. Be intentional by getting to know them, learn their spouses’ names, their kids name, ask about their hobbies. Be engaged and show interest in their life outside of work. This could even look like following up and seeing how a sick family member is doing. Things like this may seem small and simple, but intentionality goes a long way and shows that you care.
- Mix it up. Do things that are outside the normal workday, like an office lunch or a team building activity after work. This provides an opportunity for you to engage and get to know your employees outside of the office in a more relaxed setting. This can be done every few months or maybe once a quarter.
- Check ins. Are you keeping a pulse on how your team is doing? If you don’t have time to directly check in with each employee, check in with their supervisors to gauge how they are doing. Do they seem overwhelmed, unengaged, or frustrated? Be proactive in checking with how your employees are doing, getting feedback and making adjustments as needed. By being proactive in doing this, you may, not always, but be able to avoid issues down the road.
- Opportunities and Growth. Depending on the size of your business, are you providing opportunities for employees to grow within your company. Keep them engaged by providing new opportunities or challenges for them to take on. Provide training opportunities or incentives for your employees.
As I stated earlier, investing in your company and business also means investing in your employees. I believe that employee engagement is something that is only going to become more crucial and important to small businesses. As the business owner and leader, you have the opportunity to set the standard of engagement. Hopefully, as you invest in your employees and show you care not only about your business, but their role in the company, they will invest as much right back into the business.
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