How to Increase Satisfaction and Reduce Turnover

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This article originally appeared on Forbes.

If both large and small business owners can agree on one thing, it is that employee turnover is expensive – really expensive. According to a recent Forbes article, to replace an entry-level employee it costs between 20-50 percent of their annual salary, upwards of 150 percent for a mid-level employee, and up to 400 percent for a senior or highly specialized employee. While it will never be possible to completely eliminate turnover, because sometimes a new hire just isn’t a good fit or other external forces are at play, here are some of the ways I have personally increased my team’s job satisfaction.

Create incentivized goals

Who isn’t motivated by the prospect of a treat? Last year, some of the incentives I offered my team for reaching quarterly goals included music festival passes, Apple Watches, monthly home cleaning services, and a trip to Costa Rica. Incentives like these might not be in every business’s budget, but the prospect of, say, an extra vacation day can go a long way too. Find out what your employees see as an added value and start from there. For example with the New Year, employees might appreciate working towards a free month of yoga classes or a monthly visit by an in-office masseuse. Part of incentivizing people is identifying what makes them happy.

Regularly acknowledge accomplishments

People like to have their hard work recognized. When someone on our team completes a difficult project, closes a big sale, or lands a large press hit for our company or a client, I make it a point to send an email to the entire company congratulating them on a job well done. For example, “Jamie is killing it in PR! She just got a hit for her client in the New York Times!” or “Everyone congratulate Bryan–he closed a huge sale with This Client for $30k!” Giving positive recognition is a small gesture that has a massive impact on morale.

Keep employees in the loop

One of the biggest complaints I used to hear from my staff was that they were always the last to know when it came to new hires, developments, milestones, and just general news. To combat that, we instituted a monthly company newsletter where we introduce new members of our team, highlight big wins, and share any other pertinent company news like new service offerings and partnerships. I also hold a monthly company meeting where I personally fill my team in on stuff that’s happening and answer any questions they might have. This resonates positively by ensuring everyone feels like part of the team and stays in-the-know.

Give regular & sufficient raises, when due

An employee who leaves a company can expect a 10 to 20 percent increase in salary, according to the same Forbes article. The prospect of a significant pay increase could be motivation enough for even the most satisfied person to start exploring their career options. If you truly value an employee, a worthwhile raise is the most surefire way to keep them around.

Other ideas to consider if your company has the means…

  • Free lunch Fridays – Every Friday we cater lunch from a different local restaurant or eatery. It’s one less day my team has to worry about packing a lunch or leaving to go find food. Plus we get to taste some of the great food Austin has, together.

  • Schedule Fun – Every quarter we organize a company activity in order to get out and have some fun. My favorite so far was when our Austin office rented aqua bikes and spent Friday afternoon paddling around Lady Bird Lake.

  • Recognize Birthdays – This might be a no-brainer, but acknowledging your employee’s birthdays makes them feel extra special. We spend a majority of time with our work colleagues, and as a testament to that relationship you should show them you care. We keep track of everyone’s birthdays and ensure that there is a card and a little something waiting for them on their desk that day.

  • Foster a creative workspace – We recently transformed our Austin office from a boring space into an aesthetic and inspiring place to work and brainstorm together. Local artwork, a library of the team’s favorite books, a comfy couch, and lots of succulents adorn the area. The team tasked with decorating enjoyed the challenge and positive feedback and the new decor makes for a comfortable space that fuels their creativity.

  • Make a pet-friendly environment – Granted, only if your employees aren’t allergic, and the animals aren’t too distracting. No one wants the yappy dog that bites ankles hiding under their desk. We do allow our employees to bring in their well-behaved dogs though. This relieves the pressure some have to go home during lunch and let their dogs out. It ups morale in the office and definitely makes for some good Instagram posts.

Ultimately, my advice is to find out what makes your employees happy. Once you do that, you can understand what motivates people and take the steps necessary to achieve an environment that makes them an asset to your team.

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About Author

Darius Fisher

Darius Fisher is an entrepreneur, investor, and the President of Status Labs, the premier online reputation management, digital marketing, and public relations firm with offices in Austin, New York, and São Paulo. His goal is to help his clients look their best in search results, fix online crises, and grow sales via effective digital marketing and public relations strategy. He lives in New York City.

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