The Secret to Keeping Your Best Employees

Relaxation time

Small businesses make up 99.9% of U.S. employer firms, according to the Small Business Administration. And as new jobs are created and employees get hired, it has become increasingly important to consider an aspect of the hiring process that goes beyond onboarding and training: workforce well-being.

Guardian, an employee benefits provider, recently released the 2018 Small Business Benefits Study and reported that “the well-being of 60 million Americans is linked to small businesses”—those businesses that act as employers, that is. Typically, well-being is classified under the benefits umbrella and is broken down into three categories: financial (salary, retirement, and 401(k) plans), physical (health, among other forms of insurance), and emotional (job security and enjoying what you do).

The Guardian study also reported half of all workers say their employer cares about their overall well-being. This number is important since employees who perceive their employer cares are more likely to stay with a company for at least 10 years compared to those employees who don’t, according to the study.

So how can small business owners remedy the situation for employees who may feel like their well-being does not matter to their company? The truth is there is no quick fix. Ordering catered lunches or issuing free gym memberships won’t fix what’s ailing these employees. If anything, this will only drive them further out the door because they won’t feel like solutions are being personalized to their specific situations. Small businesses that want to emphasize well-being need to take the following steps to create the change employees want to see.

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Re-examine and re-evaluate existing benefits

Sometimes a house is built on a foundation that was hastily slapped together. The owners of the house have a choice: They can spend years trying to right what wasn’t stable to begin with or move out. What most people don’t do is tear down the house entirely because starting over is an expensive and time consuming approach. However, once the old model is gone, a new, better model can be built that benefits the owners and doesn’t depreciate in value.

The same can be said for small businesses and their existing benefits. Take a look at the benefits you currently offer employees. Do these benefits foster a culture of well-being? Are some dated or unnecessary, given the roles and duties of your workers? The Guardian study notes that within the next five years, 49% of small businesses plan to expand wellness initiatives and 46% will provide flexible scheduling and telecommuting options.

Creating a culture of well-being may ultimately mean tearing down an existing structure and building a new one in its place; however, before you move to strike any benefits or add new ones, talk to your employees about what’s going on. Explain that you’re working to change the overall company culture to one that better embraces their well-being. Ask them what kinds of benefits they need (instead of guessing), and then see what you can do to accommodate their requests.

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