One of the hardest things small businesses struggle with is being able to offer their employees benefits that can compete with big corporations. Benefits are usually a way to gain a competitive edge allowing your company to fill open positions with the very best people possible. Of course, as a small business offering things such as medical insurance can be too much of a financial burden and may not be an option until your company has experienced serious growth. Until that is possible how do you recruit some of the best skilled workers with only basic benefits?
At FGS we created an initiative to combat turnover and lack of benefits by focusing on the idea that working for FGS is better than working for a large corporation. We call it the “My Job’s Better than Yours” Initiative. The initiative addressed the cost of replacing employees and reasons why employees quit.
When it comes to why employees quit there have been many studies done to see why people quit their jobs and one of the less-common reasons—contrary to popular belief—is compensation. This means that many people are not leaving their jobs because they feel they are not being paid enough, but because of other reasons that turn their job into a “Deal Breaker” .
We as a company try to fight off these deal breakers by developing a balanced approach to employee retention:
Compensation and Employee Growth are very straight forward benefits that don’t need much explanation. For now, I would like to focus on Appreciation and Purpose.
There are tons of ways to show your employees what they do for the company is important and how their job helps reach the company’s goals. One of the main ways we try to achieve this is through training. We do have your standard meetings but for important training we try to train in the form of games. One of the games we played included us tossing a bag of skittles into a box and depending on what box you made it into your questions about a process were easier or harder:
Don’t have space to toss skittles across the room? There is another very simple way to play, where I would present questions to the team and then have everyone answer at once to see how everyone thought the process worked or should work. This created an open dialogue which allowed each employee to speak about what they thought worked and didn’t work in our processes. This helped us make changes and improve the company and showed our employees that they are important to the growth and have a say in how our processes work.
The most important part of showing an employee their purpose in the company isn’t to tell them what they do helps us, but instead allow them to come to this realization themselves by cultivating engagement.
As a disclaimer, I would like you to know that I put a big emphasis on appreciation. As a person who has had a few different jobs I believe that the biggest failure on any leader’s part is when they don’t let their employees or coworkers know they are appreciated. We as a company celebrate each employee’s FGS-iversary (their yearly anniversary of their start date) and occasionally buy lunch or ice cream for the team.
Though group appreciation is important we also focus on the individual. One way we do this is by celebrating an individual employee who has excelled in the face of a large or complex project.
We hand out this “Champions Belt” to our employees to show them that they exceeded our expectations and we recognize them for their ability to excel beyond our expectations. This small gesture doesn’t cost the company much but it leaves a big impact on our employees and creates a goal for our workers to strive to achieve.
Our methods may not be conventional but we recognize that standard problems many companies face, such as employee retention, may need unconventional solutions. We utilize the resources that we have available, including our ability to generate new and unique ideas to create a culture that helps retain employees. Unlike health insurance, sick days, or retirement our culture is unique to us and not something that our competition can offer.
Now, in no means is culture a supplement to these other important benefits; but it is something that can easily make your company stand out in a world full of corporations that do not focus on creating a work environment that their employees love. This is why I believe that company culture is our best benefit.