Gehman Accounting Blog

4 Ways SMBs Can Keep Good Employees

Austin Weaver - Mar 31, 2022 11:15:00 AM

Many business owners these days are struggling to find the labor they need in a competitive market. There are simply more jobs available than people who want them. This labor shortage has been exacerbated by record numbers of employees leaving their current positions, a trend termed the “Great Resignation.”

But what started as the Great Resignation has turned into the “Great Reshuffle.” Millions of employees are taking advantage of the current trend and using their new-found negotiating power to find better jobs with increased pay and benefits.

What do these labor trends mean for the average small business? Small business owners have been affected more than some would like to admit. Shed builders lose skilled workers to home builders. Home builders lose skilled tradesmen who start their own businesses. Even orchards, greenhouses, farms, country markets, food service, and hospitality have skilled workers who migrate to similar industries that can offer a more reliable (or more flexible) schedule or year-round employment.

When a business is losing workers or desperately looking to fill positions, what can be done? We suggest looking at several areas if you want to retain (and attract) good employees:

1. Maintain a Sustainable Capacity.

team - GehmanTeam01

Overpromising and underdelivering to your clients can hurt employee morale and increase on-the-job stress. Be up front with your clients about your lead times and expect the same from your suppliers. Don’t place unrealistic expectations on your employees. They want to achieve great customer satisfaction as much as you do, but they can’t tap into superhuman capabilities when capacity is overextended. Maintaining a sustainable capacity is critical if you want employees to stay sane and satisfied.

2. Prioritize Company Culture.

A good company culture not only attracts good employees but also keeps employees from leaving. Creating a good culture doesn’t necessarily mean putting a ping-pong table in the shop or supplying free sodas in the break room. What really matters is how you relate with each other and whether your employees can be honest about their experience at work. Encouraging honesty, allowing diverse opinions, being able to laugh—these are the kind of values that make your workplace attractive. Ask your employees how they experience your company culture and management—then do something about it if it’s not a great review.

3. Compensate Employees Well.

Negotiating wages with your employees can be a tricky tight rope to walk. How do you know what is fair and what you can afford? When is it better to offer more benefits instead of higher wages? Before you can make informed decisions about wages, you need to get the facts on your profit margin, cash reserves, overhead per labor-hour, and job profitability. This may take some expert advice or at the very least, some accurate business reports. But doing the hard work and finding that compensation sweet spot is well worth it if you can reduce turnover and attract qualified employees.

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4. Provide Opportunities for Advancement.

Employees often quit if a job seems like a dead end. To keep employees engaged and committed, you may need to offer on-the-job training or outline a clear path for advancement. Be candid about the skills and behaviors that you want to see in potential leaders and managers. Commit to providing a learning environment, offer cross-training, and be willing to invest in your employees. If you can offer the opportunities your employees are looking for, they will be more likely to stay.

Whether you are frantically looking for good workers or trying to keep the workers you have, you do have options. Maybe you need to upgrade your pay and benefits package or work on company culture. Just remember, it’s not always about the money. Be the employer your employees can say is the best place they ever worked.



Topics: Economy- Insight- Relationship- Guidance

Austin Weaver

Austin Weaver

Austin Weaver is the Marketing Manager for Gehman Accounting. He helps small business owners find expert outsourced accounting solutions. Austin has had valuable experience in several industries including retail, design, food, manufacturing, and education.

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The Gehman Accounting Blog provides small business owners with information and resources to sustain and grow their businesses. With a focus on financial stewardship, team building, entrepreneurship, economic insights, and tax news, these articles seek to inspire confidence in today's business world.

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