How To Handle Those Business Ch-ch-ch-changes! (Part 2 of 3) by @hkterry1

Part 2: Retaining Good Employees

There’s nothing quite like the heartbreak of losing an employee who you’ve invested time, money, and energy in. It’s even worse if you’ve let yourself get attached to said employee, which tends to happen a lot, especially among us girls.

In my last post, I talked about one of the first transitions we make when a business starts to outgrow its start-up phase: hiring that first employee. I wrote about how important it is to remember that your employee is just that—an employee—, and therefore will not love your business as much as you do. I then discussed how you might go about managing your expectations and working with your employee to make this transitional process successful. (You can click here to read that article.)

Today, in the second installment in a three-part series of blog posts, I’m going to talk a bit about the steps you can take to retain those model employees you really do want to keep around.

In my mind, there are three key things that will go a very long way in keeping good employees:

1. Make it worthwhile for them to stick around.

As a start up, maybe you can’t provide dental benefits or a company car, but there are things you can offer your employee. You might simply need to sit down and have a conversation with that team member to see what that is. Maybe they envision working their way up the ranks, earning promotions, and staying with you long term. Maybe they’re interested in commissions or bonuses after a certain level of sales is reached. Maybe they would very much appreciate having a flexible work schedule arrangement.

Set your employees up for success and they will do the same for you.These types of incentives will make your employee feel like he or she is an integral part of your company, and when you do this, you quite possibly have an employee for life. So, if it means pay raises after sales increase by x% a quarter or a work from home arrangement one day a week, see if you can make that work.

2. Show your appreciation.

Let the people who work for you know how valuable they are to you. Say thank you. Give bonuses. When you make your employees feel appreciated and valued, they will work harder for you. Sometimes I’ll give my employees $20 Starbucks gift cards just to say thank you for kicking ass on a project or for staying extra late at the office one evening. Team morale is a very important element of a well-functioning business, and these small gestures go a long way.

At the end of the year, I always give my assistant a bonus. This is above and beyond what the company gives her. This is from my own personal funds as a thank you for doing a good job and going the extra mile. When you make people feel good, they will invest in you emotionally. (Then, they will have a very hard time leaving you!)

Are you listening?

3. Ask for feedback.

Staff meetings are important, but I think that one-on-one conversations with employees are also key. Especially for those who fill crucial roles in your company (frontline reception, for instance). Ask employees how their job is going. Ask if they’ve noticed areas that could be more efficient. Ask what is working well and what they would change if they could.

Taking the time to listen to your staff about how they would be doing their jobs if it were up to them can give you valuable insight, and it can also make those people feel like they are valued.

Haven’t you been there? Where you were in a job and you were dying to tell your boss that certain aspects of the job weren’t working, but you felt like you weren’t respected enough to give your opinion? Don’t let that happen to your employees! Start the conversation yourself, and keep that communication line wide open.

In my next post, I’ll write about how to handle the other end of this transition surrounding employees by giving you some suggestions on how to handle employees leaving you and how to open up someone’s career path by letting them go.

For now, do you have any tips on how to keep good employees around? Comment below and let’s discuss!


Heather K. TerryCelebrated health coach, cooking instructor, yogi, and writer, Heather K. Terry, is a true health aficionado. She is co-founder and COO of NibMor Chocolate, co-founder of the Gluten Free Sugar Cleanse, and a strong advocate of eating real, simply prepared, organic foods and avoiding genetically modified, highly-processed food-like objects. A graduate of The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and The French Culinary Institute of Manhattan, Heather’s passion for food and nutrition are palpable.

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