From January through March, the U.S. Department of Labor says businesses have cut an estimated 232,000 jobs. Over the past 12 months, the retail industry has shed roughly 107,000 jobs. For a business owner trying to stay afloat, these numbers sound grim -- it's no fun swinging the ax, and it's harder keeping talented people who want to bail. So how can a small business retain its employees while the economy continues its downward slide?"First and foremost, I think a company needs to determine which employees they want to retain," says Tom Darrow, founder and principal of Talent Connections. Darrow recommends employers sit down one-on-one with each employee to gauge their workforce and spark communication: Find out how each employee is doing, ask if they have any concerns, see if they have any recommendations or suggestions and so on. Darrow recommends a two-pronged approach. In addition to upper management sitting down and listening to employees, have an outside firm conduct an employee survey. This will allow the employee to speak with anonymity on things they believe need to be changed that may not come about in a face-to-face meeting with management. Once a business owner has established which employees to keep, you next have to formulate a plan of action. First, you need to establish if money is your retention problem. If so, there are several steps you can take.
Making Dollars and SenseJo Prabhu, founder and CEO of International Services Group, says many insurance companies are now allowing employees to pay 100% of their insurance premiums, where before the employer was responsible for 50%. "That can be offset in other ways," says Prabhu. "An employer can give
Recognizing and capitalizing on these types of opportunities is what makes small business owners tick. A recent survey by Global Strategy Group for Intuit found that nine out of 10 small-business owners saw growth opportunities in the face of the looming recession. Furthermore, over 75% expect to see growth.For some, their optimism is more than peering through rose-tinted glasses. If you're in the food service industry, for example, employment has increased by 288,000 jobs in the past 12 months, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.