by Matt Abbott, General Manager of The source
The pandemic has left several small businesses underemployed. It is for this reason that retaining great employees is critical for companies. Small businesses are not endowed with endless resources, which makes it difficult to compete with the performance packages of their larger competitors.
The secret of the success of these companies lies in the combination of a solid service package, honest communication, flexibility and growth opportunities that are integrated into the success levels, because retaining outstanding talent is much more than just realistic remuneration.
1. Promote real transparency.
Small businesses and startups need to assume that everyone in the organization is working towards a common goal in order for the company to be successful, and honest communication is the only way to achieve that goal. Smaller organizations have the opportunity to create more transparency with the limited number of people and to keep employees up to date on the inner workings of the company. Sensitive topics such as budgets can also build trust between upper management and their employees.
Individual compensation or topics that contain proprietary information should be kept secret, but discussing financial statements and strategic plans with your team is a tactic to build strong relationships. Transparency is possible when everyone in the organization has an idea of what the business structure looks like, they know what the company’s money is being spent on, what is expected of each and what they want to achieve together as a unit.
2. Get feedback.
While full transparency is not just an open door policy, there needs to be an internal communication structure for feedback. Even at The Sourcery there can be confusion every day, but we value these structured check-ins. Every Thursday we had an all-hands meeting that talked about the good, the bad, and the ugly. Then we do our finances once a month. This shows our bank account with all the data from each quarter so we can take it to another level of honesty and open communication.
This gives employees the feeling of being involved and enables managers to also receive individual perspectives on larger company goals. It helps them share new ideas and opinions to avoid groupthink, and it doesn’t always require an organization-wide team meeting either. There are a plethora of options to choose from – polls, suggestion boxes, and one-on-one – to open that door too.
Questions on essential topics, such as service packages, cannot be ignored either, as managers sometimes overlook the wishes of their employees. It is impossible to have a completely happy team without fully understanding their needs. This supports a positive corporate culture and forces managers to be honest about their shortcomings as well.
3. Create growth opportunities.
Managers should tell their employees, “I’ve never had this experience in another company,” and hire talent who are interested in growing with the company. Sometimes smaller organizations overlook the potential to internally promote where they can take on already established team members and develop their leadership skills for the future.
If there are no opportunities for employees to learn from them and develop professionally, they may see no value in staying with the company. Mentoring programs, regular service training, and the offering of new titles, roles, and responsibilities are just a few of the ways you can foster growth and leadership skills. In order for a company to be successful, there has to be a concrete base of people who cannot be relied on only by top management, and everyone has to believe that they are part of the history and history of the company and at the same time their mission drives forward.
4. Offer flexibility.
The increase in delta variation continues to cause office return delays, and many companies are migrating to full remote staffing. Small businesses need to recognize the importance of location flexibility, as the top talent will certainly want a flexible schedule based on hours and location.
When a smaller company requires all employees to work from a certain location, some people get curious about other opportunities when there is no room for change. Rigid rules are a surefire way to make people feel choked up and employers need to avoid this problem before it shows up in order to keep their great employees. Smaller acts of flexibility can also help, such as freedom in the area of responsibility and in daily work, which help to keep your work exciting and varied.
5. Take the benefits seriously.
While small businesses may not have the resources to support a perfect performance plan, they need to remember that their employees are people, not just workers. Most executives have recognized the importance of a comprehensive performance plan, but as remote working increases, employees will have more employment opportunities and small businesses will need to find a way to differentiate themselves.
Start with an attractive PTO package that clearly sets out the guidelines. For example, I worked for a company that had a “Take what you need” plan that unfortunately resulted in a mess. Some people developed a “this is my time” mindset and took it, while others felt they shouldn’t go on vacation or didn’t know when to go. This is related to the need for feedback and ongoing communication, as employers can waste time and money providing incentives that are not directly beneficial to their employees.
Employers must continuously adapt their benefit plans to the wishes and needs of employees. If someone takes a job just for compensation, then most likely they are not invested in the company and have no long-term vision with the company. The needs of people jumping from job to job are not being met, so employers need to recognize this and consider this in their recruiting strategy. In order for small businesses to retain great talent, there needs to be a combination of the above factors that drive talented employees to work and grow in their company.
Frosted Abbott is the general manager of The Sourcery, a technology start-up recruiting company in the Bay Area. He has over 20 years of recruiting experience building dynamic sales and recruiting engines for Fortune 1000 companies and private, specialized HR organizations.