4 Simple Employee Retention Strategies

Posted by Jim Otto

4simpleaEmployee loyalty is very important to a small business owner. Good hiring is only the start of it. Finding and keeping great employees hinges on the efforts put forth by the owner.

Great Employees are the heartbeat of a business!  Focussing on them will affect your bottom line.  Happy Employees = Happy Businesses. The way customers feel in your store is directly correlated to the way your employees feel about their jobs in your store.

As an owner, the way you treat employees creates an energy that flows through to the customers in your store.  When you hire, train and interact with your employees care should be shown. Following are Four Important areas to focus on for great employee loyalty.                         

  1. – Follow Your Heart 
  2. – Make A Human Connection
  3. – Appreciate Each Employee for their individuality
  4. – Accept That We Exist In A State Of Gray                                        


I know what you’re thinking. And, no, we aren’t telling you to throw caution to the wind or make every executive decision in a whimsical fashion. But if you read that headline as if your number one priority when running your business should be to look within, then you are on the right track.

If everything is only equal to the sum of all of its parts, then why do we look so long and hard away from the anatomy of those sums at work: the people, and their human existence? Owning and growing a small business cannot all be decided based on some predetermined equation that is easily applied to every situation and ends in the best possible outcome each time.

If you are willing to make the effort to step back from being "The Owner", get out of control mode and actually exist in the energy around you, you will be more in tune with what is or isn’t working within this lively beast you have created (your business). You will be able to feel the ebb and flow of its heartbeat. Are there bottlenecks in the stream of certain processes? Find out from your employees, the internal organs of your business, if these are common occurrences.

Your natural instincts will take over to allow you to make the necessary corrections where they’re needed. Thus, by following your heartand listening to your staff – you will establish the most successful workspace for everyone in your company, and your employees will thank you by sticking around to enjoy it.


Like any other successful human relationship, in order to cultivate the best working environment for your company, you must focus on respectful communication, active listening, open-mindedness to new ideas, and the capacity to accept criticism where it’s properly due.

Taking time out of your schedule to make a connection with your employees, and to let them tell you how their jobs make them feel, will give you an intangible advantage as you continue to grow your business. As soon as those who are working around you are no longer just bots who are working for you, your mission and your company’s energy will move in a better, stronger direction.

Your employees are the glue that can hold even the most fragile of start-ups together. Allowing them to be up-front and honest with you about their thoughts and ideas, both within and without your company, will allow you to see them in a more wholly stature. It will allow both parties to establish a bond with the other, one that will likely last a lifetime.


In the beginning, this will feel like a no-brainer. Of course you’re going to appreciate each employee, right? These people are making your dreams come true right now. You are so thankful for them showing up for that interview or being at that job fair or for taking a chance at your Craigslist ad… But that wears off, eventually. Inevitably, any person in charge of other employees begins to see patterns in the disappointment that accompanies the joy—and they begin to doubt new hires right from the start.

One of the trickiest obstacles faced by small business owners after that first year in the business, is being able to get excited about new employees as the company grows. You need a new receptionist or you’ve decided to add an extra driver to a route, perhaps your cleaning crew is terrible or your IT guy was stealing from you. Whatever the case, you must leave those disappointments with the perpetrators who perpetuated them.

Appreciate every employee who shows up for work, who smiles when you talk to them, who makes the customers feel at ease, who produces consistently every shift, who works for you. A simple “thank you” or “you’re doing a great job” can be all that person needed to feel excited about their job again. When your staff feels appreciated, they will stay. 


In life, we often find ourselves in new situations with only our past experiences and instincts to draw on when figuring out how to handle them. Being a business owner, especially starting out, brings situations that no manual has ever been written for. In fact, a lot of the things you may experience as owner will be foreign territory.

There will be employees who will come to you asking for a change in their hours or their pay. It can feel like your role has somehow turned into “Miracle Worker” and your job is simply to grant all wishes to those who ask. Refrain from this mentality. Remember instead that there is not always a perfect solution. It is okay to make decisions based on who’s asking and what they’re asking for.

There is no black & white way to manage your living, vital lifeline between your customers your employees, and yourself. Without feeling guilty that you aren’t following a perfect protocol, avail yourself the opportunity to act in the grey areas. Choose pay advances based on whether or not you think the employee will be around to repay them. Tweak schedules as needed to allow for outside responsibilities, or to get your top producers the hours they want.

When you make the right decision for each employee, based on your own personal history with them, you are making the right decision for your business. Regardless how you would have handled the same situation with someone else, choosing to personalize your approach to each person who works for you – and with you – is a huge step toward gaining that person’s employment long term.

The world is not black and white. Your employees shouldn’t be limited by only yes or no answers either. If you allow yourself to accept that every situation really lies in a state of grey, you will gain the trust, admiration, and loyalty of your employees and find yourself 15 years down the road working with the same people you started your business with.

Keep up the good work!

I am a small business owner and have been so for 17 years - and yes I have employees who have been with me for most of this time.  As Franchise Operations Director for Shear Madness Haircuts for Kids Franchises I talk to franchisees often about employment issues that they face.  As franchise owners, they are free to make their own decisions about their employees.  However, I am available to bounce ideas off of and to draw from my past experiences for possible similar situations for what worked and what didn't.  This is one of the many advantages of franchise ownership support.  If you are interested in learning more about the advantage of franchise ownership - you might like this -

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