By Maria Valdez Haubrich
Do you spend a lot of time thinking about how to keep your best employees happy—and keep them at your business? You’re not alone. According to a new survey that my company conducted using SurveyMonkey Audience, a whopping 82.2 percent of small business owners think employee retention is extremely or very important.
While many surveys that focus on retention or benefits target major corporations, The GrowBiz Media Small Business Hiring and Retention Survey 2012 honed in on small businesses—most of them with between two and 50 employees. Surprisingly, most entrepreneurs in the survey (73.3 percent) claim they’re not worried about employee retention as the economy improves. This may be because about the majority have seen no changes in employee retention in the past six months. Still, some 32 percent have already started making changes to improve retention, and 25.6 percent are considering doing so.
What changes are small business owners making? More than two-thirds (67.4 percent) are taking steps to improve manager/subordinate relationships, which are overwhelmingly seen as the biggest factor in employee retention (cited by 78.1 percent). And about three-fourths of small business owners are working to improve corporate culture, which was seen as the second most important factor in retention.
Interestingly, employee benefits came in third behind relationships and culture as a factor in employee retention, cited as very or extremely important by slightly over half of respondents. Perhaps small business owners recognize that since they typically can’t afford to offer the kinds of benefits big companies do, it’s their culture and closeness that distinguishes them.
Nonetheless, 38.4 percent of employers have added unpaid benefits in the last six months, and 27.9 percent have added paid benefits. The most common reason for doing so isn’t retention per se, but because entrepreneurs say their businesses are growing and they have more resources to make the changes (46.5 percent).
Going forward, just 10.9 percent of employers are planning to add paid benefits in the next 12 months, with health care the top paid benefit (62.1 percent) they plan to add. Slightly more (15.5 percent) say they plan to add unpaid benefits in the next 12 months, with teambuilding activities being the most popular addition (53.7 percent).
This survey is good news for entrepreneurs and employees alike. For employees, it shows small business owners are willing to reward hard work as long as they can afford to do so. For entrepreneurs, it shows their businesses are thriving, enabling them to finally reward their team for pulling with them through the recession.
View the full survey results.
Image by Flickr user Jason Hargrove (Creative Commons)Google+