After the rollercoaster of 2020, it looks like it’s finally time to get back to business. However, you may notice that your employees are disconnected and less motivated after the chaos and instability of the past year. While this could just be a temporary setback, it’s worth remedying if you’re hoping to start off the post-pandemic era right.
Even with the best products and services, a business is only as strong as its employees. A disconnected staff can eventually lead to a slump if more time is spent dealing with conflicts than growing the business.
In light of changes in our culture and the workplace, small business owners will increasingly have to understand the needs of their employees in order to keep their workforce happy and focused.
A happy, engaged team is one where employees feel valued and have a purpose beyond just showing up for work each day. Purpose is such a strong motivator that a survey by BetterUp found that 9 out of 10 workers would trade a portion of their lifetime earnings for “greater meaning at work.”
It’s clear that in order to keep your employees engaged, you need to go beyond pay to find out what really matters to your workforce.
Engagement is Growth
Treating your employees well and giving them purpose isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s also a good business strategy.
Happy, engaged employees have been shown to be healthier, more productive, and loyal to their employers. One study from Oxford University found that happy employees are 13% more productive, providing a clear link between job satisfaction and a firm’s growth prospects.
The takeaway is clear. Happy employees work harder, meaning more growth for your business. It’s a clear win-win.
But if the link is so clear, why are so many small businesses finding themselves unable to keep their employees satisfied?
The Retention Economy
Most employers understand how important their employees are to their business’ success. Yet with the time and energy required to run a small business, many employers don’t get the chance to fix the issues causing employee disengagement.
As a result, these issues tend to fester, creating even larger problems within the company. This often leads to increased turnover and difficulty finding good employees.
Some statistics illustrate how difficult the retention problem has become. According to a Principal Financial Group survey, small business owners reported a 20% increase in turnover in 2020, the highest level seen in years.
When we drill into the numbers, the situation looks even more troubling. Hays Recruiting reports that 81% of employees would consider leaving their jobs if given a better offer somewhere else.
The increasing lack of employee engagement has created an untenable scenario for small business owners looking to retain their best employees.
In a Zenefits survey of 600 small and medium-sized businesses, over 63% said that retention was harder than hiring. For anyone familiar with the difficulties of hiring, this is saying a lot.
Remote working presents another unique challenge moving into the post-pandemic world. According to a Prudential study, 68% of employees said that a hybrid workplace model of working from home and the office would be ideal.
A bit more worrying is that 42% of current remote workers said they would look for another job if their employer doesn’t offer remote options moving forward.
As a small business owner, you can continue to go along with the status quo and hope that your best employees aren’t poached away by a more enticing offer. But wishful thinking isn’t typically the best business strategy.
Hiring On All Cylinders
Along with being a major headache for any small business, turnover is costly. Losing an employee can cost up to 33% of the employee’s salary, according to a study by Employee Benefits News.
Worse yet, replacing a skilled employee can cost double a year’s salary when you factor in training, onboarding, and lost productivity due to recruitment.
What do you do when it’s too expensive to lose an employee? You find employees who will stay and find ways to keep them.
But finding the perfect hire takes a lot of time and energy, both in short supply for many small business owners. You need something to attract the best candidates to you.
The Benefits of Benefits
With such a tight labor market, competition has grown fierce for small business owners looking to attract good candidates. At a time of skyrocketing healthcare costs, medical benefits have become just as important as salary for prospective employees.
A Glassdoor survey found that 80% of employees would opt for additional benefits over a raise. Similarly, 60% reported that benefits and perks are a major factor in determining whether or not they will take a job offer.
In order to compete for the best candidates, you need to offer the best benefits. Benefits aren’t limited to medical, vision and dental coverage, but also include 401k retirement plans, workers compensation and even healthcare savings accounts and other employee wellness programs. There’s also perks such as vacation and sick time and performance bonuses.
LinkedIn’s annual survey asks 3,000 American employees about the types of benefits they most desire in an employer. The top ranked include:
- Healthcare Insurance
- Vacation Days
- Performance Bonuses
- Paid Sick Days
- Retirement Plans
However, not all workplaces are built the same. Your particular workforce might have different needs, such as flexible work hours or remote capabilities.
For this reason, employers should try to provide benefits customized to their employee’s needs. In MetLife’s US Employee Benefit Trends study, 74% of employees said that it was important to have benefits customized to their needs before taking a job. Another 72% said that customized benefits would make them more loyal to their employer.
As most employers know, loyalty means productivity, and productivity translates to growth.
Growth Begins With a Good Team
At this point, it’s easy to see how happy employees impact the growth of a business. Happy employees possess the purpose, freedom and support that leads to increased loyalty, productivity and morale.
But keeping employees happy can be difficult on your own. Benefits administration in particular is extraordinarily complex and requires an attention to detail that many small business owners may not have time for.
The same goes for developing a supportive, positive office culture, which often gets overlooked in the midst of trying to keep the business functioning.
An easier solution is to outsource many of these tasks to a professional employer organization (PEO) like Focus HR.
Focus HR provides a dedicated team of experienced HR professionals ready to work personally with your business to ensure that you’re attracting the best talent and taking the best care of the employees you already have.
Whether you need medical benefits, retirement plans, payroll and time solutions or worker’s compensation, Focus HR offers the kind of comprehensive benefits and perks that keep your employees and your business growing.
Contact Focus HR today for a free consultation to find out how we can keep your employees happy and your business growing.