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6 Things Your Small Business Can Do to Retain Employees in 2017

Keeping your employees happy can help your business grow.

Employee retention is always a top priority for small businesses. When a worker leaves, entrepreneurs are usually responsible for filling that position, which often means recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and training new workers without the support of the HR department many larger businesses have. Experts estimate that the average cost to replace a departing employee is 16 percent of a position’s annual salary for low-level positions, 20 percent for mid-range jobs, and as much as 213 percent for highly-educated specialized positions.

In addition to saving money, retaining employees can offer your small business a continuity that can help you grow. To help you fight attrition, we’ve put together these 6 things you can do to foster employee loyalty. This will also have the added benefit of improving your business’s work culture and boosting morale.

Create a Think Tank

Engaged employees are happy employees. If you merely hand down assignments to your employees, though, they’ll likely never become fully invested in the goals you’re trying to accomplish. Not only should every employee be fully aware of your mission from the start, but they should also work with you on major decisions. Whether you’re working with a team of one or twenty, try to involve as many employees as possible in helping you brainstorm ideas for your next project. As your business starts to grow, you can even put together an internal think tank and task them to come up with innovative ways to move your business to the next level.

Invest in Training

Training helps your employees learn new skills and improve upon what they already know, which gives your small business access to a higher level of expertise. More importantly, though, it demonstrates a commitment to your employees that they’ll likely appreciate. When they see you’re willing to invest in upskilling them, they’ll likely feel that they’re benefiting with their long-term career goals. In addition to courses, consider helping them achieve impressive resume credentials such as Salesforce certification or Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification.

Pay More

Of course, if you can increase your employees’ salaries, you’re more likely to keep them. In fact, a poll from 60 Minutes found that annual bonuses and pay raises were the best way to keep employees. Unfortunately, small businesses often find that they don’t have the extra money necessary to make those increases. If that’s the case with your business, consider looking for other ways to reward your employees, including allowing them to take off early on a random Friday or catering lunch several times a year.


Gamification is a fun way to get better results from your employees while also making things fun. Once you have enough employees, consider one of the many apps that are available to help you bring your team together. Gamification will ignite competition as employees help customers, make sales calls, or handle basic administrative tasks. Soon you’ll likely find that they look forward to coming to work every day to improve their standing on the team leaderboard.

Acknowledge Good Performance

Recognition can go a long way towards improving employee loyalty. You don’t have to provide cash awards. In fact, simply acknowledging a team member’s top performance in front of the group can lead to a sense of pride and accomplishment that money could never bring. Create a certificate or prize of some type and present it to the top performer on your team during your staff meeting.

Conduct Performance Evaluations

One frustration many workers have is that they have no idea what their employers expect of them. You can reduce this by first putting a job description in place that you revisit each year. Review any changes with each employee and ask for suggestions on things that need to be included before you finalize it. On a periodic basis, conduct a performance evaluation that lets your employee know how he or she is doing in completing the duties as outlined in the job description. Praise the things each employee is doing well, while also pointing out areas where improvements can be made.

When you work hard to retain your existing employees, everyone benefits. In 2017, find new ways to improve morale and increase worker loyalty. If you succeed, you’ll be able to put all of your time and energy towards growing your business rather than recruiting and training new employees.

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