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Tips for Retaining Quality Employees

Once you find those employees who fit your company culture and deliver high customer service consistently, you want to keep them. While every hard-working employee deserves a good wage and pay raises, money isn’t the only motivator. Employees usually place a high value on less tangible job benefits, such as a positive work environment, job security and work/life balance. Here are some tips for retaining your best employees.

Talk about total compensation. When talking about pay with your employees, include a review of that employee’s total compensation in the discussion. While the base wage or salary number is often the most obvious number, total compensation includes any bonuses you might give throughout the year, benefits (including health insurance, retirement, life insurance and short-term disability) and paid time off. The total value of these can add significantly to the employee’s total compensation. Express this value in a dollar amount, as this will be more meaningful.

Know your competition. Don’t wait until your employee decides to leave to think about employee retention. But if an employee tells you they want to move on, ask how much they know about their new employer. Are they moving simply because of pay? Have they considered the culture of the company? In addition to how much they are paying, you should know as much as you can about the culture of your competitors. If employees would rather work for someone else, why is this, and what can you do to make your company an even better place to work?

Have a ‘stay’ interview. Rather than waiting for the exit interview to learn what an employee likes or dislikes about working for your company, have regular checkups with current employees. Good questions to ask include: Why did you come to work here? Why have you stayed? What would make you leave? These questions can be a part of annual reviews. Or you can get more frequent feedback so if employees become unhappy with their work situation, you can quickly find out why.

Encourage open communication. Employees who feel like they’re a part of the team are likely to feel ownership in the company, and communication is critical. Hold regular meetings where employees can offer their own ideas and ask questions. Managers and owners should have an open door policy that encourages employees to speak frankly with their managers without fear of repercussions.

Offer flex-time. Flexible scheduling makes it easier for employees to have a work-life balance. Offering flex hours can be difficult for a retail environment, so it may be worth your time to research schedule management software that easily allows employees to switch shifts or put in requested time off online. You may not be able to always accommodate everyone, but making an effort to help employees whenever possible will go a long way to generating a positive attitude toward your business.

Develop employees. Don’t let your employees get bored or feel that they are underemployed. When employees show an aptitude to take on more responsibilities, cross train them in different departments or send them to vendor-specific training seminars to develop their product knowledge. Not only will you have employees who can better serve your customers, but you will show them you are interested in their professional development. Hold regular meetings with your employees to discuss both the company’s goals and the employee’s goals for the future.

About Jesse Carleton

Jesse Carleton has visited independent hardware retailers, conducted original research on the industry and written extensively about the business of hardware retailing. Jesse has written for more than a dozen of NHPA’s contract publishing titles, all related to the hardware retailing industry. He also was instrumental in developing the Basic Training in Hardware Retailing courses now used by thousands of retailers across the country.

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