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5 strategies to help retain employees in the workplace for small businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on numerous challenges for small employers, from supply chain disruptions to increased cyberattacks, which has forced them to rethink their marketing strategies to grow their online presence. Most recently, we’re seeing small businesses grappling with a wave of workforce shortages and labor reshuffling, with an estimated 47 million people who quit their jobs just last year alone. This is why employee retention has become top of mind for small employers, who are also increasingly competing with larger companies for a highly-skilled workforce.

Below you will find five key strategies to navigate the ongoing workforce shortage in order to help retain your workforce.

Emphasize benefits

While offering benefits is costly and challenging for many small businesses, the health and wellbeing of your employees is an important aspect that can support employee hiring and retention. Some state-run benefit programs are available to small businesses that are unable to offer retirement benefits, paid leave, and health insurance to their employees. Visit our retirement portal to help you explore the options and features available to small business owners like you (including state-run retirement plans), as well as our healthcare portal to get you started. 

Support mental health

It’s vital to recognize how the pandemic has affected us all. Checking in on the mental health of your employees can help you to better support them and understand how increased anxiety and vulnerabilities can have an effect on work performance. If you don’t already have a policy for mental health, consider offering mental health days—which can be paid or unpaid time off—have one-on-one meetings with your employees and let them know that you care. For more information on how to support the mental health of your employees, check out this workplace mental health playbook developed by our partners at the Health Action Alliance.

Give recognition

Employees are more satisfied in their workplace when they are recognized for their accomplishments and contributions. You don’t have to implement a new program or award to recognize your employees for their performance, but look for opportunities to praise their accomplishments in front of peers to encourage them to continue to meet and exceed their goals.

Provide financial incentives, if possible

If you have the financial resources to set incentives for your employees, consider allocating funds that can be used for pay increases, bonuses on an annual basis, etc. With increased inflation rates, employees are looking for ways to earn more money to keep their families afloat and financial incentives in the workplace can be a great way to boost employee morale.

Be flexible

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that flexibility in the workplace is key to retaining and supporting employees. From working from home opportunities to flexible hours, workers are looking for increased flexibility from their employers. Although we know that not all industries can accommodate work-from-home or hybrid work models, look for other ways that you may be able to provide flexibility for your workforce.