As of January 2020, the national unemployment rate sits at 3.6%. With much of the labor force employed, it’s safe to say it’s a job-seekers market as workers have more freedom to pursue the job opportunities they really want. So, employers have to pull out all the stops when finding ways to attract and retain employees. But, what exactly does that entail? We’ve compiled a list below of five ways businesses can increase employee retention and attract new employees to their company.
Offer Unique Perks
Even businesses operating on a smaller budget can offer additional perks to attract and retain employees. Small businesses likely won’t be able to provide free meals or decompression capsules like Google, but they can still get creative with employee perks. Whether it’s an employee discount at local establishments, 4-day work weeks, bring your dog to work day, or a combination of things, extra benefits make employees feel valued.
More and more workers are striving to establish a positive work-life balance, which often starts in the workplace. Companies that have recognized this shift and have begun to offer flexible work environments are automatically more appealing to employees. Not only does this help companies attract and retain workers, but it also improves employee happiness and productivity. Achieving flexibility in the workplace doesn’t have to be complicated, either. Solutions can be found by working with current employees to identify common pain points and establish a resolution.
Practice Effective Leadership
There is a distinction between bosses and leaders. Bosses are known to manage their employees, whereas leaders inspire employees to think outside the box, be creative, and reach their potential. While management is a necessary piece of any business, it’s important to remember that employees leave managers, not companies. Blending the roles of boss and leader is a great way to form positive relationships with employees while driving results.
Invest in Continuing Education
According to research findings by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), one of the top ways to retain employees is to offer high skills training and professional development programs designed to improve soft skills. Providing employees with additional training, mentoring, and development opportunities keeps them engaged and shows that you are invested in helping them grow with the company. Sharon Florentine, writer for CIO.com, echoes this sentiment in a recent article. She writes, “Promoting from within not only provides a clear path to greater compensation and responsibility, it also helps employees feel that they're valued and a crucial part of the company's success.”
The good news is that investing in continuing education for employees doesn’t have to break the bank. There are many government-funded programs and grant opportunities, as well as local programs that help businesses provide workforce training. Companies in Fergus Falls and the surrounding area can benefit from the workforce training opportunities offered right here in our community. Greater Fergus Falls has even partnered with M State to offer a business training series for local organizations and individuals.
Offer a Competitive Salary and Benefits
A competitive salary and benefits play a significant role in attracting and retaining employees. The one that matters most to employees often comes down to individual circumstances but can also change from generation to generation. For example, 56% of employees value health benefits over financial stability while 24% of Gen X employees favor financial stability.
When weighing the benefits of a competitive salary and where that fits into your business’s budget, compare it against the cost of replacing an employee. An Inc.com article notes, “It can cost as much as 30 percent to 50 percent of an entry-level employee’s annual salary to replace [an employee]. Employees often find they can enjoy a 10 to 20 percent salary increase by simply moving from one company to the next, which makes jumping ship attractive.” Keeping salaries of existing employees in line with the current job market can have a substantial impact on employee retention rates.
Small businesses may also feel limited by what they can offer current and potential employees as a benefits package. After all, it can be hard to compete with the benefits bigger businesses provide. However, you can sweeten the pot simply by offering employees things they wouldn’t get elsewhere in addition to healthcare. Examples include more flexible vacation options, the ability to work from home, or performance bonuses.