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Employee Retention: 4 Ways to Keep Your Best Team Members

Jennifer Post

Employee turnover rate can greatly impact the success of a company, especially with a smaller team. For businesses that operate with hourly staff members, the blow can be particularly hard: In 2015, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported that the annual turnover rate for hourly employees is a whopping 49 percent, costing an average of nearly $5,000 per employee.

The good news is, there are ways employers can attract and retain the right hourly workers to reduce high employee turnover. John Waldmann, CEO of employee scheduling software company Homebase, offered four tips for businesses with an hourly workforce.

1. Start during the hiring process.

The hiring process is when you should be looking for candidates who can not only do the job well, but will stick around for a long time. The most common frustration from managers, according to Waldmann, is how hard it is to find quality employees. With the unemployment rate below 5 percent, this is particularly hard right now. Finding an applicant who is available, falls within the desired wage range, can commute to work and has relevant experience can feel impossible.

"Make sure you're aware of exactly what a successful employee will do: What are the job duties they will be expected to perform, what are the behaviors that are required to be effective at completing the tasks, and what are the minimum requirements an applicant must have to even be taken into consideration for the role?" Waldmann told Business News Daily.

To ensure your business gets the right employees, Waldmann suggests doing the following:

  • Write job descriptions that attract the right candidates. [Learn more]
  • Use low-cost technology to reduce the time it takes to review resumes. [Learn more]
  • Conduct a reference check. [Learn more]

2. Get scheduling right.

Allowing your employees to balance their work with their personal lives is a big factor in whether or not an employee wants to stay at a given job. If an employee seems to always be scheduled when they've said they aren't free, your scheduling process clearly needs an overhaul, said Waldmann.

"Your employees are the heartbeat of your business, interacting with customers and making sales that keep the doors open," Waldmann added. "You need their hard work each day, and that means matching up your business needs as closely as possible with the schedule they want."

3. Honor time-off requests.

In the same vein as making sure your scheduling lines up with employee availability, giving employees the time off that they request can make them feel valued and want to stick around to see the business succeed.

"Everyone needs a break every now and then," Waldmann said. "And employees have a lot of reasons to request time off – a vacation, a sick family member, child care in the summertime, etc. As a good manager, you want to grant your employees the time-off requests they're asking for."

On the flip side, a business also needs to make sure it is adequately staffed, added Waldmann. Not granting time-off requests to keep the business fully staffed may lead to disgruntled employees. But if the pendulum swings too far in the other direction and you grant time-off requests too liberally, you'll wind up understaffed.

"This can all be avoided if you improve your time-off request process. Having a deadline in place – for example, at least two weeks' notice – will keep your business running smoothly," Waldmann said. "There will always be last-minute calls due to illness or emergencies, but managing the planned days off will set you up for success."

4. Communicate.

Communication comes first. Your employees want to know what's going on with the business as it relates to them.

"When you share more with your employees, they will be much more likely to stick around," said Waldmann. "Make sure they feel comfortable making suggestions for improving sales and efficiency, just as you give them pointers on how to improve their performance. Communication needs to flow in both directions."

Overcommunicate the value that every role and every employee has on the team. When an employee is reminded how the work they do helps the business succeed, they'll be more motivated by the tasks at hand.

"Over time, without reminders of the contribution the employee has on the business's success, employees can lose their pride and connection to what they're doing," said Waldmann. "It is so simple that we often neglect to say it."

Image Credit: Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock
Jennifer Post
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Jennifer Post is a professional writer with published works focusing on small business topics including marketing, financing, and how-to guides. She has also published articles on business formation, business software, public relations and human resources. Her work has also appeared in Fundera and The Motley Fool.