A thriving business is built on productive employees who feel satisfied in their jobs. Small businesses stand a better chance at holding onto these valuable workers when they invest in them, communicate well with them and understand who they are, said LaShon Harley, director of the Durham Tech Small Business Center.
Employers should always keep an eye on the future of their company and develop employees accordingly to prevent situations that could hurt morale and cost the business money. Training and development can prepare an employee to take on new responsibilities – such as operating a new software system – as the company expands.
Business owners who don’t cultivate employees can find themselves in a jam and have to hire additional staff who are already equipped with certain skills or knowledge. This can create resentment from the untrained employee, who may think the employer didn’t value him or her enough to make an investment ahead of time.
“Now you have a morale issue,” Harley said.
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Giving feedback is another key to good employer-employee relationships. And knowing how specific workers handle that feedback is important.
“We have five generations working now,” Harley said. “Each of these groups responds to feedback in different ways.”
In addition to age, gender, ethnicity and culture also play a part. Employers should take the time to receive training in human resources to better understand these dynamics, Harley said. Also, many owners and managers lack an understanding of basic employment law, so training is valuable in this regard, too.
Wages and salaries are, of course, important to keeping workers happy. But business owners also should consider the nonmonetary types of compensation that employees would appreciate, including flexible schedules, allowing comp time accrual for vacation days, telecommuting and recognition, such as certificates. Knowing your employees will help you figure out which types they value.
Another way to hold on to good workers is to find free or low-cost ways to help them if they are facing a personal issue that is interfering with their work, Harley said. This could be as simple as lending a company car to someone whose vehicle is in the shop.
In the end, business owners should always keep in mind the rule, “Don’t forget the human part of human relations,” Harley said.