Attracting good employees as a small- or medium-sized business can be tricky. To get around it you hire inexperienced graduates and train them yourself, only to seem them walk off to a larger company with shinier benefit packages as soon as you give the qualifications they need to get in. It seems to be the way things are: you train fresh talent, and then bigger, wealthier companies with life insurance, an incredible insurance plan, and more paid vacation than you can afford poach them. The costs of training new employees and the constant hemorrhaging of your best employees drives down the quality of your work and prevents you from becoming a major player. So what can you do to hold on to those people so that you can grow your business?
Screen Your Hires
Big businesses can offer better pay and better benefits than your business. They offer stability and great wages to people who are trying to maximize their income, but they also tend to be rigid and very unadaptable. As a smaller business you should focus on hiring people who are unlikely to fit well into a large, slow-moving organization. Ask interviewees about their future plans, and take in those who are well qualified but also planning on pursuing further education, gathering new skills, taking care of children, or possibly even moving.
Be The Most Convenient Option
Offering work to these individuals makes you a convenient option for skilled workers who might otherwise be forced out of the job market. Accommodate them by offering flexible work hours and telecommuting options, in conjunction with a steady paycheck. This creates a favorable work-life balance for employees and makes it easy for them to stay on board while also putting them in a position where they would have to give up a lot of freedom if they wanted to work at a more established business.
Maintain Good Morale With Great Leaders
Running any team of professionals is tricky, and doing it with employees who have flexible schedules, or who work from home, is even more difficult. This puts an incredible strain on your leadership team, who will have to work very hard to keep their respective teams cohesive and on the same page. There are a lot of important characteristics that go into an excellent manager, and it’s especially important to screen potential leaders for their communication skills, their ability to motivate people, and their ability to inspire good cooperation and coordination between employees.
Work To Keep Individual Employees
Every employee has different needs, and when someone is looking for greener pastures it’s important to know why, and what you could do about it. Have an answer ready for what your employees can do to earn raises or promotions, offer training to develop employees professionally, and deal with interpersonal conflicts in the office. Never try to bully an employee into staying, and always be the one to offer solutions to a potentially departing employee rather than getting defensive.
Small- and medium-sized organizations have an uphill battle to retain skilled employees, but it is a battle that can be won. By carefully screening potential new hires, offering flexibility, maintaining good leadership, and determining why individual employees are leaving, you might be able to hold onto employees a little longer. Chances are they might leave down the line, but the company will have at least recovered the money spent to hire and train the individual.
About the Author: Samantha Stauf works in the marketing department of a start-up. She recently became a regular contributor at Ms Career Girl and Social Media Today.