In today’s marketplace employee retention is absolutely vital for success of a small business. The number of high quality employees seems to dwindle by the day. If you have read some of my other articles on effective hiring and what to look for, you will likely have added some quality employees. Retention of employees is now the key, so how do you do it?

Train Character, Demonstrate Character

You hired quality and now you must maintain and improve it. You have an ongoing job of teaching employees character and attitude. The best way is by example and encouragement on your part. They have spent their life, up to this point, developing whatever character and attitude they have. Making changes is slow. You will need a very deliberate plan to facilitate this change.

Character is not taught deliberately to most people growing up. In fact, we are taught that whatever is true for you is fine. Unfortunately, that’s poor character training. Whatever each employee defines as true for themselves in the areas of honesty and punctuality is fine with you??

Think about it. What actual character traits do you want to see? Can you name seven absolutely important character traits you want when recruiting employees to work for you? Most struggle with this. If you can’t define it, how can you find it to hire? (See my checklist of 20 Key Character Traits)

Let’s take one simple character trait, punctuality. Is it important in your business that your employees are on time? Most employers I talk to tell me that they struggle to find employees that will even show up to work on time!

Make sure you know what character you want to hire so you deliberately look for it when recruiting employees. Make sure you have a plan in mind as to how you will consciously exhibit and train character into those who work for you.

Pay for Quality

If you have hired quality employees, pay them what they are worth. Employee retention is very difficult if you don’t. Paying at or above the going rate may not be a true motivator, but poor pay can be a great de-motivator.

One rule that holds true when seeking quality employees is that you get what you pay for. While extravagant salaries are a bad idea for any business, you must also realize that you cannot get a well qualified candidate for minimum wage. In addition, and morally very important, as an employer you have an obligation to compensate your employees fairly so they can take care of their families too.

Your employees are the lifeblood of your business. A great employee is invaluable to the success of your business. Time and time again I have seen businesses fail because owners hired the cheapest rather than the most qualified employee. How many times have you been poorly treated at a business by someone’s employee and vowed never to return?

Having a reputation as one with high character and a fair compensation program will attract more qualified applicants giving you a pool of well qualified candidates from which to choose.

Final thoughts …

I have seen many businesses succeed and fail based on employee performance. It’s always possible to make a bad hiring decision despite the best research and intentions. Thorough interviews and reference checks help you in employee recruitment and retention.

Your employees are one of the most important parts of your business. Building them into the very best team takes an intentional effort on your part. Help your employees to take ownership in their jobs and your business. They need to understand the goals you have for the business and your value proposition so they can partner with you in the success of the business.

Take the time to do it right. Be purposeful. Watch your employee retention improve. You’ll be rewarded for your effort!


by Steven Schlagel