Stop the bleeding: Small businesses can take these steps to keep employees

Most of us have had employees who do the company a favor by bailing out. A name or face is probably coming to mind even as you read this. In most cases, however, you’ve invested time, money and energy bringing employees into the fold, and resignations are a hassle at best. Depending on role, the departee’s loss could represent (ouch!) up to two times his annual salary considering lost productivity, recruiting, interviewing, screening and training. The average is six to nine months’ wages, says the Society for Human Resource Management.

Small businesses often suffer worse from these effects because they’re so dependent on each employee. If you want to help your small firm recover quickly from departing employees and keep the ones you’ve got, consider these tips:

* Cross-train employees for different roles and departments.

* Pre-screen all incoming candidates for skills, whether they’d fit in and whether their values and goals align with your firm.

* Create an on-boarding program for new employees. New employees who complete an ob-boarding program are 58 percent more likely to be with your organization after three years, according to Christina Merhar of Utah-based Zane Benefits.

* Have fun at work and help newbies feel like part of the team. Foster a fun, competitive atmosphere even if you don’t have a big incentives budget.

* Maintain good manager-to-employee relationships. The Wall Street Journal referenced a Gallup study this year in which half of the 7,200 respondents left a job to get away from their managers. “(Many) sense a lack of gratitude from management for all their hard work,” notes H.R. consultant Margaret Jacoby in the Huffington Post.

* Match or beat industry standards for compensation. Invest in each person through training, mentor-ship and by offering a clear path to advancement. Consider perks (some of them low-cost) like flexible paid time off, remote working opportunities or on-site day care.

*Don’t assume your employees are happy. Ask for feedback.

Fortunately for small employers, keeping great employees today isn’t always about the money.

“Awards, recognition and praise might just be the most cost-effective way to maintain a happy, productive work force,” the Wall Street Journal reports in a recent article.

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