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The Alternative Board Blog

Three Ways To Reduce Turnover In Your Small Business

Jul. 16, 2019 | Posted by Phil Spensieri

Turnover in small businesses isn’t uncommon, but it’s important to understand why employees choose to leave your business. Although turnover isn’t always indicative of a problem, it can be helpful to your business overall if you take some preventative measures against it occurring in your future.

Here are three ways in which you can reduce turnover in your business, and how you can determine whether or not your employee turnover is a cause for concern.

1. Hire the right people

I talked a bit about finding and keeping the right people for your business in one of my previous blogs. Business owners usually tell me that hiring the right people is one of the most effective ways of reducing the “revolving door” scenario in your workplace. Having qualified employees who share in the values that your business upholds can be a key factor in keeping them in your business over time.

Look beyond their skills and qualifications for the role to ensure your employees fit with your company culture.  When they’re able to contribute to your business, they  tend to be happier in their positions, which bodes extremely well for them staying with your company for an extended period of time.

2. Take their needs into consideration

Listen to the needs of your employees and see what you can do to adapt or accommodate their needs.  For example, some employees may ask for more flexible hours, or the option of working from home. When you work with your employees to find the best possible solution for their needs, it often results in happier employees and a stronger loyalty to your company.

We often think it is salary which tempts our staff to leave, but it is often that a lack of communication, or a lack of consideration towards employee feedback, is a larger contributing factor towards an employee’s departure. Although attention to your employees’ needs will not necessarily prevent turnover entirely, it can help to keep the right employees in your business.

Want additional insight? Read 9 Tips for Motivating Your Employees now 


3. Invest in your employees

When I talk about “investing,” most business owners immediately think of compensation. In reality, there are a variety of ways that you can invest in your staff, including mentorship programs, additional training, and advancement opportunities.

If your employees have specific goals in mind, it’s important to offer options within your business to help them attain their goals. Ultimately, this will ensure that your staff will feel supported in their professional endeavours, and keep them within your company as they work to achieve them.

4. Should you be concerned?

A high turnover is frequently a cause for concern, particularly for small business owners. Even a single employee exiting the business can feel indicative of a high turnover, if you have a smaller employee base to begin with.

Many small businesses can experience turnover as frequently as once every three to six months. This can be entirely normal, especially if the business owner is having difficulty finding someone who’s the right fit for the position. However, if turnover continues to occur, even when you’re doing your utmost to ensure that all employee feedback and opportunities are incorporated, and that you have the best possible hiring process in place, it may be time to take a closer look at the role and your internal onboarding process.

To begin, it may be helpful to re-evaluate the position you’re looking to hire for. You could start by writing out all of the job responsibilities and skills required, as well as the personality type you believe would be an excellent fit for your business. You may find that by getting everything out on paper, you can better understand what doesn’t belong in the role, and how the role needs to be changed. This can ultimately help you make a better initial hire.

In addition, avoiding turnover may involve giving new hires more training than you had initially planned for.  Set goals for them to reach in 30 days, 3 months, 6 months, and in the coming year. How will you help them achieve these goals? You can also consider having them job shadow an existing employee, learning more firsthand about what their role will entail, and how they can grow into that role.

The greatest recommendation I can make is to put measures in place to reduce turnover as much as possible before it even occurs. Consider constantly recruiting, as well as having a back-up plan in place with your internal resources should an employee leave your business unexpectedly.

By substantiating employee value, and working towards the best possible solutions for employees’ concerns, you’re taking strong, positive steps towards preventing turnover.

For one-on-one coaching and peer advice regarding your business questions, become a member of TAB today.

Read our 19 Reasons You Need a Business Owner Advisory Board


Written by Phil Spensieri

Phil Spensieri is a TAB Facilitator in the York Region of Ontario, Canada. To find a TAB Board in your area, visit https://www.thealternativeboard.com/facilitators-world-map