Follow these strategies to keep employees happier, more engaged and committed.

By Ryan Kh

When you’re running a small business, the team you have working for you will play a huge part in the success of your organization. As such, it’s vital to not only choose the right employees for your venture but to find ways to keep them happy, committed, engaged, and productive, too.

There are numerous ways to go about this but, in particular, focus on retention strategies. Retaining your workers ensures all their valuable knowledge and experience stays in-house, rather than being lost if they leave.

You might be worried that keeping employees happy is going to cost too much money, but the truth is that your staff members are likely more focused on being valued as workers and enjoying their time on the job than they are on their remuneration. There are multiple things you can do to retain your employees today and into the future.

Give Out Awards

A key tip is to give out awards to your best-performing workers. Receiving an award makes an employee feel valued for their efforts and results, and gives a real boost to confidence. You might decide to set up a frequent awards program, such as an Employee of the Month setup, where you choose someone to honor each time, or you could be more flexible about it.

If going down the latter path, hand out awards any time you think someone has gone above and beyond in their efforts or has achieved fantastic results. Just make sure you don’t let too much time run without having awarded someone, as it’s easy to forget to do these things when you’re juggling a huge range of tasks.

When it comes to awards, choose plaques, trophies, medals, certificates, or any other type of collateral you think will work best and that’s within your budget. You might also decide to go down a more light-hearted route, by created an award in an unusual style, depending on what your business sells. For instance, publishers or book stores could give out awards shaped as books, or those in the footwear industry could create awards in the shape of shoes.

Thank and Acknowledge Your Staff

Something that’s affordable and only costs you some time and effort is thanking and acknowledging staff members. People like to know their boss notices the effort they put in and how committed they are to their role. As such, simply thanking your workers for doing a great job will go a long way.

Try to give thanks in person wherever possible, as this builds connections more and is more meaningful. If it’s not possible to do this face-to-face because of logistics, write a meaningful handwritten letter or arrange a Skype or other online chat where you can see each other. A phone is a possibility if necessary. For a more public acknowledgement, thank employees in a company newsletter, on a social media site, an internal company system, or via recognition at a conference, meeting, or other event.

Give Employees Opportunities to Progress and Grow

Don’t forget that your team members also want the chance to progress within the company, and to grow their skills and knowledge so they can further their careers long term. As such, look for ways to give your workers opportunities to challenge themselves, try new things, and show they’re ready for a new level of responsibility.

For example, send hard-working employees off to represent the firm at trade shows, conferences, and other events, or give them the opportunity to lead a team. Promote excelling staff members who you think are ready to step up, and also send employees off for training. This could be at a one-day course or workshop, or you might invest in them further by paying for some or all of a university degree or other intensive training program.

Provide Rewards and Perks

Rewards and perks are important to employees, too. There are many different options here, so what you choose depends on your budget, the occasion, and the interests of your workers (always try to align gifts with specific employee tastes where possible).

While you can provide people with bonuses at the end of the year, also consider smaller gifts such as trips away, meals out, hampers, flowers, books, spa vouchers, movie or event tickets, etc.

Provide rewards to people when they do something special, achieve a great result, hit an employment milestone (such as ten years with the company), or for their birthday. Perks such as extra time off work, better parking, gym facilities, free meals, etc. also go down well.

Retaining your top workers doesn’t need to be super costly or time-consuming. Follow some of the strategies mentioned above, and you should have a happier, more engaged, committed, and productive workforce before you know it.

Ryan Kh is an experienced blogger, digital content & social marketer. Founder of Catalyst For Business and contributor to search giants like Yahoo Finance, MSN. He is passionate about covering topics like big data, business intelligence, startups & entrepreneurship. Follow him on twitter: @ryankhgb.

Retention stock photo by Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock