You did it!! You have done the interviews, made the job offers and you now have a handful of staff that have taken over some of your tasks so you can focus on growing your small but mighty company!
But as we all know, the hardest part of having employees is keeping employees. There are other opportunities, companies offering more growth, more money or better benefits and as a small business, it’s often hard to compete with the big guys.
So how do you keep your employees from always looking for something better?
I’m excited to share 6 tips to create a loyal team that will soon become like family!!
- Give them ownership. It is so hard for a solopreneur to release control. But it is so necessary! When you delegate a task or project, give clear instructions, provide a “by when” date, and let them go! If the assignment doesn’t turn out exactly as you had hoped, teach them why so next time it will be better. Continue to provide them answers to WHY you do something the way you do so they will begin to critically think through it on their own next time.
Employees who have ownership over areas of the business will feel more invested and will be excited to see growth just as you are!
- Set aside dedicated one on one time. So often we hear from owners “well I have an open door policy so I don’t need to do one on ones. They can always come talk to me!”. I get it. I’ve been guilty of this as well. And this is great for small things that need your attention.
But setting aside dedicated time to discuss their goals, what they love and don’t love about their job, what things they would like to implement to grow the company and my favorite question…”what role do you see yourself in with <name of your company> in 5 years? It doesn’t have to currently exist.”. What I love about this question is it gives you a good gauge if they even see their future with your company and often they makeup a role that they would like to create and grow into to help your company serve even more clients!
- Encourage creativity! I always always always ask our staff to be creative with their processes. I teach them how to do something the way I know how to do it but if they know of a better way, I always want to hear it! We hire talented, brilliant humans that often have different experiences and knowledge than I do. And they bring things to the table that I never would have thought of! New softwares, a new way to manage a process, and more! Always let them know that their ideas are welcomed and encouraged!!
- Pay them fairly. This is a tough one for small businesses. Not because we can’t afford to pay (though sometimes that IS the reason!) but more because you often don’t know what the going rate for a position is in your industry. Especially for your first hire.
I would encourage you to do a few things. First, google the job description. That will give you an average of that role title for your area. Second, ask other business owners in your area what their salary ranges are for similar jobs in their companies. Lastly, jump into a FB group for that role. If you’re looking to hire a virtual assistant, join a group for VAs on FB and ask what the going rate is for a VA that does ____. List the responsibilities you’re hoping to get done. You will be shocked how freely this information is given and it helps so much to ensure you’re offering a reasonable rate for your employees.
- Celebrate them! Mark their employment date on your calendar and send them a card or take them out for coffee to celebrate. If it’s a big milestone like 5, 10 or more years, do something special like dinner or a getaway for them and their family. Ring bells when they make a sale, do a team dinner when you finish with your busy season or give everyone an energy pack filled with goodies to keep at their desk right before an especially busy month. Make it fun and let them know you couldn’t do this without them!
- Appreciate their spouse. This is a BIG one! In the wedding industry especially, spouses have to often pickup a heavy burden when their other half is with you. We require our team to miss many weekends and evenings with their families and their spouse is left to do dinner, bedtime and weekend sports on their own. This was obviously a choice they made together BUT we all know that when your spouse hates your job it will soon trickle down to you hating your job. So invite spouses to team outings, say thank you when you see them and make sure they’re excited about the opportunities you can provide for their family. It will go a long way in ensuring your employee is happy at work and at home!!
Training new staff members takes money, time and energy that can drain a small business. It costs WAY less to keep amazingly talented employees than it does to constantly train new ones. I hope these tips help you to implement a few new ways to show your team how much you appreciate them and how valuable they are to you!!