Keeping (Good) Employees: Colorado SCORE Presentation

Oct 28, 2019

 The days of employee loyalty are thing of the past. Yes, in 1950 all you had to do was hire an employee and they would stay loyal to you and your business until retirement. Today, employees hold leaders accountable for their actions. If they do not believe in the leadership, mission or value of a business, employees are gone. These employees refuse to settle. They seek opportunities to grow and thrive and expect the same from their employers.  


Small Business Mistakes:

Unfortunately, small businesses make the assumption that things are much like they were 70 years ago. Many things have changed since then- technology, communications, transportation, and much more. The employer/ employee relationship has definitely been impacted by all of these changes and the expectations on both ends have changed.  

Let's take a quick look at some of the most common mistakes that employers make in encouraging employees to stay loyal.  


Pay is how we say "thank you"

This one drives me crazy right here. Their paycheck is, how do we say thank you? No, that's required. True, this is one reason why they are working. But, this will not keep them, especially if you are not paying them fairly. 


An accidental culture

Culture eats strategy for breakfast. This is very true. Culture is all about how people show up at work. Culture drives the performance of an organization. Be very intentional about your culture.  


Google it

When you do not take an active role in training your employees, you are doing more harm than good. Essentially, you are sending the message to your employees that you do not care about their success. You also guarantee that you set your employees up for failure. Googling will do more harm than you can ever imagine.  


4 Steps to Keeping (Good) Employees

Keeping good employees is not very hard. All it takes is a little organization and thought. The key is understanding what kind of employer you want to be and what goals you want to accomplish. Most important, it is time to get out of your own head and understand the needs of your employees.  


1- Pay does matter 

Yes, above we highlighted the fact that using pay as a thank you is a pretty big mistake. Let's face it, we all work to support our lives. Pay is required and not to be used as a thank you. But, you can choose how well you pay your employees. You will indeed attract higher caliber employees with higher pay. But, once you get them in the door, you have to pay for performance to keep them on board. To make sure that you pay your employees fairly, use to make sure that you know the fair pay ranges for your area.  


2- Intentional culture

I know, I know, we are starting to get a little repetitive. But, this is really important. Your culture is everything. If you do not plan your culture, your culture will create itself, which is likely to result in a poor culture. 

Start with looking at your mission. Do you live your mission or are they words on a wall? You should be looking to your mission as your guiding light. Every decision that you make should be supported by your mission.  

Also, look at your leadership and how they facilitate results. Do they lead with fear, disdain or indifference? If so, it is time to address your leadership. Train your leadership on your desired culture and behaviors of a quality leader, then hold them accountable.  

Your culture starts with your mission and leadership- once you can get these two factors worked out, your culture will start to take shape. 


3- Training

94% of all employees say that they will stay longer if you invest in their training? It's true. Training equals retention. Training results in established trust. Training results in additional responsibility and success. Training is a win-win. Everybody gets a little bit out of training, you get a sense of relief in running your business and your employee gets self-satisfaction in knowing that they can be successful. 


4- Rewards

It's amazing how much impact a simple thank you makes. Even in my career, I look back and I think fondly of those simple thank yous. When a boss (or higher) took the time to see what I have accomplished, it makes me want to work harder. Don't you?  

Now, think about your employees. They probably feel the same way. There are so many ways to say thank you. You can simply say thank you. You can hand out bonuses. You can give gifts. It is really up to you, your culture and your budget. Just be sure to acknowledge the hard work of your employees.  


Of course, there are so many things that you can do to retain your employees. But, here's the secret sauce- there is no smoking gun, there is not a single action that you can take to make sure that you keep good employees. What matters the most is that you realize that you have a responsibility as an employer to provide a working environment that encourages results and success. When results and success are met, you reward them. 

If you can do everything that you have done to get where you are today, you can help others along.  


Disclaimer: HR Branches provides general information about Human Resources. Please note that the information provided, while reliable, is not legal advice. Please seek legal assistance, or assistance from State, Federal, or International governmental resources, to make sure your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your location and circumstances. The purpose of this information is for guidance, ideas, and assistance on general HR matters.

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