How To Prevent Your Best Employees From Quitting

Hiring strong hard-working employees is already a daunting feat for many small business owners. Once you find them, it’s hard to let them go. In fact, losing your best employees can have a detrimental effect on your other team members, your revenue, the morale of others, and even your business as a whole. 

Luckily for you, there are some things that you can do to prevent your best employees from quitting. These tips do require some work and focus from you, but if you take them into consideration, your employees’ motivation will remain high, and you will grow a team dedicated to you and your company.

Why Good Employees Quit

Lack of Respect

If your employees don’t feel respected or trusted in their work, they’re going to want to go elsewhere. This lack of trust could come from you or other employees, but no matter where it stems from, it can lead to dissatisfaction in a job extremely quickly. And while they may not quit right away, these feelings of unhappiness will eventually build up, and they will decide to go another direction.

For example, one way that showcases a lack of respect or distrust is micromanaging. If you are constantly checking in on their work, they will feel that you don’t trust that they will get the job done correctly. Therefore, they’re not going to want to do their best work because they feel it will be corrected anyway. We’ll discuss a different approach to take on this aspect later on.

Related: How to Hire The Right Employees As A Small Business Owner

Setting Inconsistent or Unrealistic Expectations

If an employee feels as though they can’t get a grasp on their tasks due to inconsistent or unrealistic expectations, they are going to become frustrated. Many prefer to have a stable, somewhat predictable list of tasks that they can do by priority level. You never want your employee to feel like they have to choose between two equally important tasks because they don’t have time to do both. This creates high-stress levels, which are linked to discontentment.

Low Pay

This one is probably pretty obvious, yet many employers miss the mark in this area. While it may be tempting to pay your employees the legal minimum, they will only take the low pay for so long. How does this affect you if you’re the one saving money? Well, if one of your best employees quits, it could end up costing you more in the long run. How much, you ask? According to a study done by PeopleKeep, it’s estimated to cost between six to nine months of an employee’s salary. That’s no small number.

Feeling Underappreciated and Overworked

Humans can only do so much–especially without any appreciation. As a small business owner, you may ask your employees to wear multiple hats as you grow. It’s your job to ensure that they don’t have too many responsibilities to balance. If they seem like they are struggling to maintain their workload, set up a meeting and discuss what you can take off their plate to make them more productive. 

The same goes for feeling underappreciated. Even a simple thank you can make them feel like you notice their hard work. Don’t be afraid to recognize their accomplishments from time to time.

No Room for Growth

Although this may be harder for small businesses, your employees need to feel as if there is room to grow. If they’re feeling stuck for long periods of time, they may begin to feel anxious and ready for a change. And while you may not always be in the position to offer career advancement within your business right that second, you can encourage growth in other areas. This can include teaching them new skills they may not be familiar with or offering them education stipends. 

One of the easiest ways to understand what they’re looking for long-term is to hold quarterly or semi-annual meetings where you discuss their long-term goals. Ask them where they see themselves in a year, five years, etc. Ask them what they want more practice in or what skills they want to learn. Then use this information to help them grow in those aspects.

How to Prevent Your Best Employees From Quitting

Now that you know a few of the reasons your best employees quit, it’s time to learn what you can do to prevent it so you both remain satisfied. 

Treat Them With Respect

The easiest–and most direct–way to give your employees respect is to have an open and honest relationship with them. This is especially true when it comes to communication. Encourage them to ask questions or voice any comments or concerns they may have while working. 

It’s also important that you don’t breathe down their neck while they work. Instead, if you notice that work is being done incorrectly or not finished, have a conversation after the fact. They’ll be more likely to fix their mistakes and want to improve if you let them try first. The bottom line is that their happiness is directly linked to their productivity levels.

Related: The 8 Best Job Posting Sites For Hiring The Right Employee

Be Empathetic

In a world where many people feel like their employers do not care about their well-being, it’s important to remain empathetic and supportive. We’re all human beings with lives outside of work. While you may not need to know every detail of their personal life, showing that you care about them outside of work will help them feel more confident in their decision to work for you.

Give Praise and Feedback

As you give your employees more tasks as they (and your business) grow, give them feedback. This is not to say that you should constantly give them negative feedback. If you notice there are issues, talk them out in a constructive manner. If they are doing a great job, praise them. As mentioned earlier, even a quick email, text, or Slack message will make them feel appreciated and valued.

Ask Them For Ideas

Nothing makes you feel more appreciated than being asked to share your ideas. It shows that you trust their judgment and believe they are good at what they do. We encourage weekly or monthly meetings to discuss business and encourage your employees to share any ideas they may have to improve the company. And, of course, don’t just ask for their input. If they share ideas with you, implement them.

Offer Competitive Pay

This is arguably one of the most important things on this list. Take your time to research the industry standards for the roles. If you have the resources to match these standards, you have a much higher chance of keeping your best employees.

Related: Simple Steps to Improve Employee Experience

Be Flexible

Lastly, remain as flexible as possible. A study done by Forbes found that more than half of employees wish their company offered more flexibility. This flexibility encourages a better work-life balance, which is extremely important for mental health. 

Flexibility can look like many different things–from scheduling to benefits to even just allowing them to bring their child to work one day. Remember, we’re all humans, and unforeseen circumstances arise from time to time. Being able to work around these will keep your employees happy and engaged.

Final Thoughts On Preventing Your Best Employees From Quitting

Finding hard-working, engaged workers is not easy, so keeping them satisfied is extremely important. Create a work environment that is warm and inviting, and don’t be afraid to have an open line of communication. The more your employees feel appreciated and respected, the more they will want to push themselves for your business. Help them grow, and you will have a team ready to take on anything you give them.

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