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Positive culture keeps workers

May 25, 2014

In a recent blog post, I came across some startling statistics: 40 percent of U. S. workers are planning to look for a new job in the next six months, and 69 percent say they are already passively looking.

To a small business employer, those figures are staggering. We are careful to hire only the best employees, and once we have them, we want to keep them. There are huge benefits for employees to stay with the same company for 10 years. Employers need to know what steps to take to make workers want to stick around for years.

Proactive efforts by employers to establish a culture that builds strong relationships with their employees — the kind that leads to a lengthy commitment, and perhaps even a commitment for life — are what we are seeking.

Let’s look at five ways to build employee relationships:

Responsibility. Show your employees you trust them by giving them responsibilities that allow them to grow. Encourage them to gain new skills. Provide them with continuing education opportunities. Hire from within whenever possible, and give generous promotions at appropriate times.

Respect. Employees need to know they are respected and appreciated. People may forget the things you said, but they will always remember the way you made them feel. Many workplaces are built around the horrific things weary and stressed out managers said or did. If managers make it a priority to show outward respect for employees on a regular basis, it should lead to a strong and enduring culture as well as positive experiences and memories they will never forget.

Revenue sharing. Tie a part of employee wages to company performance. This will align their interests with the company’s revenue and profit goals and will serve as an incentive to stay with the company as it grows. By making the fixed cost of payroll more pliable under differing business conditions, this can make the business more resilient, while also treating your employees exceptionally well.

Reward. The rewards given to your employees should speak to their emotional needs and should go beyond their monetary compensation. Recognition in front of the entire staff, company parties, community service projects, lunches with the boss and handwritten notes can all contribute to the positive culture of the company and can be good morale builders.

Relaxation time. Be generous with time off. Provide sufficient time for sick days, family vacations and new babies. Pacing workflow can be highly beneficial to enduring employee relationships. Expect and even demand a high level of performance, but it is unreasonable to expect continuous quality pressure at 100 percent. Allow employees to catch their breath from one assignment to the next with the help of team building activities or small break periods throughout the course of the day.

Remember that long term commitment requires effort in both directions. If you expect and hope that employees will make and keep long term commitment to your business, it will be equally vital that you give them good reasons to stay.

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    Business Development Specialist, BBA, Certified Business Advisor IV

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