Business owners are being urged to encourage open communication, career development and work life balance to retain employees.

The business experts at Suited Insure have put together their tips for improving staff retention rates.

With a challenging job market, making a role and the benefits that come with it attractive are vital for retaining good staff.
Rather than focussing solely on financial rewards, which can be difficult for many small companies to offer, the business experts are offering advice on career development, the working environment and communication within a business.

Figures from a study earlier this year revealed the average length of time an employee stayed with a business was just over ten years.

It also revealed one in five haven’t stayed with a single employer for more than two years.

Jana Kejvalova, from Suited Insure, said: “A high staff turnover can be costly for a business – the financial implications of recruitment can be high especially if you’re replacing senior members of a team.

“There’s also time to factor in interviewing potential employees and when you do successfully recruit, introducing them to the business. As a small business owner this takes your time away from running the organisation.

“There are steps businesses can take to retain good staff and develop them within the business. This doesn’t always have to be linked to financial rewards. Instead it could focus on their career development, creating a positive environment to work in and giving them the chance to input into your enterprise.

“The biggest investment any company makes is in its own talent. The business that recognises this and nurtures it will be more successful in the long term.”

Here are Suited Insure’s tips for employee retention:

1. Working environment
Providing a positive working environment is critical to staff retention. One of the things employers can do to go above and beyond is encourage social time with the team. This could be as simple as something like an afternoon coffee shop visit, a few drinks after work or a monthly meal out to celebrate team successes. A positive and supportive workplace culture means employees will feel valued, appreciated, and motivated. Encouraging open communication, collaboration, and recognising their contributions is an important element of this.

2. Benefits
For many SMEs, offering competitive salaries can be difficult, but they can level up and appeal to talent by offering flexible hours and a better work/life balance for employees. They can also subscribe to benefits packages which give employees some level of health and dental care or a cycle to work scheme. Consider other benefits like covering the cost of personal development opportunities.

3. Career development
Creating a clear career path for your employees and offering opportunities for growth and development within the organisation is important and will show them you’re investing in their future. Consider training programs, mentorship, and further education.

4. Work-life balance
Encourage your team to take their allocated holiday, take lunch breaks and avoid working over their contracted hours. A good work-life balance equals a happy team. Some small and micro-businesses have seen the benefit of introducing a six hour working day or four day week as this boosts productivity between the reduced hours.

5. Recognising achievements
Acknowledge and appreciate your employees’ hard work and achievements – recognition goes a long way in fostering a positive environment and it can be a learning point for junior members of the team. Offering bonuses is difficult for SMEs, but there are still options in terms of vouchers, extra days off or offering external training courses for employees.

6. Communication and feedback
Whether you work to a hybrid model, from home or in the office, having an open and effective channel of communication is essential. This can be as a team and on a one to one basis. It also provides a forum for employees to voice their opinions, and address any concerns or issues.

7. Work engagement
Do give employees ownership over their work – they do not need to be spoon fed.. Allow them to make decisions, take on challenging projects, and provide opportunities for them to showcase their skills and expertise.

8. Employee feedback surveys
Encourage feedback from your team. This could be through anonymous surveys or other feedback mechanisms. Keeping it anonymous could make the process much more effective, as many wouldn’t want to put their name on a complaint. Encourage constructive feedback and open discussions as a team. This information can be used to highlight areas for improvement.