Do your employees set New Year's Resolutions? A very popular one this year is "Find a new job," according to a new Career Builder survey. Per that research, 1 in 5 full time employees (or 21 percent) are looking for new jobs. This is up from last year's 17 percent.
People look to leave for a variety of reasons. Among others, they feel they're overdue for a pay raise or they want more work/life balance. But your real question is how do you keep your star players from walking away?
Promote penalty-free discussion: Have an open relationship and don't punish people who tell you that they are unsatisfied with their jobs. It's highly possible that with a few tweaks you can make their jobs better. Somethings, of course, aren't fixable--if your employee is unhappy because he wants to be a world class chef and you are repairing washing machines, that's just not going to happen. But, if your star accounting performer wants to experience HR, it's highly possible that you can get the person training and some responsibilities in that area.
Create opportunities: The advancement possibilities are always tough in small businesses. There aren't layers and layers of jobs, and you can't promote someone from department admin to VP of Marketing without the necessary experience. Still, look to promote from within rather than always going outside. Offer opportunities for mentoring and such so that people feel that there is room for growth, even in a small company.
Offer raises or perks: Pay raises can be tough ones. If there's no extra money, there is no extra money. But, if possible, make sure your best team members get compensated according to their import. And, when that's not available, there are perks and rewards that can make people happier and cost less than salary increases.
Improve your work/life balance quotient: Want to reduce employee stress? Getting your projects done on time can be difficult and inherently stressful, but as the boss you shouldn't make it harder than it already is. Consider evaluating your processes--are you doing things that don't need to be done. Are clients making demands that don't need to be met immediately? Is there a culture of distrust and fear in your office? All these things can be fixed.
You can't make everything better, and employees will always move on, but if you're careful, you can increase the odds of keeping the good ones.