By Angel Melvin
A note from one business owner to another about experiencing business turnover…
Our business has never experienced much of a turnover – until recently!
In the past 6 months, we have had more people come and go than in the past 5 years before that. As a business owner, it is a rough thing to go through. When someone leaves, we have to list a position, interview, hire, train… you name it! It costs time, money, and most importantly, nerves. Hiring a new team member does not always turn out to be a great fit, and then you’re stuck starting over.
As I have been talking to my business-owning friends, I have discovered that we are by FAR not the only ones going through this. In fact, almost every last one of them told me the same things. We all asked ourselves at some point – Is it us? Is it the way we are running the business? What are we doing wrong?
Now, I think that it is always a good thing to reflect and figure out if there is anything that we as business owners need to address when it comes to employees leaving, especially if it is quite a few of them. On our end, we have changed a few things and I have gone to great lengths to find out if my employees are happy, and where we should improve more.
At the end of the day though, I have discovered that it is really not US – the business – that makes people leave. So what does then? How is this suddenly a trend and what do we do about it?
Here is what I have found…
I believe there are a few factors that affect the turnover rate of small businesses in recent months.
- The word everyone is tired of hearing… COVID. I believe COVID caused a wave of people leaving their jobs, whether that is because of lockdowns initially, vaccine mandates and regulations, or the general lack of motivation to stay employed in some cases.
- As a consequence, many businesses are lacking personnel, especially those who have more than 100 employees and were affected by recent mandates.
- Supplies are low, production is low, maybe the workload is low. However since so many positions are not staffed, the few individuals who DO actually stick around and do the jobs are incredibly overworked, so they eventually burn out and/or quit as well, magnifying the issue.
As a result of that, larger companies are desperate for employees. They pull out all the stops, offer unbeatable compensation such as great benefits, great pay, and even sign up bonuses in some cases. These large companies will then seek to literally recruit employees from smaller businesses, offering them opportunities they cannot pass up.
Of course, this can happen at any given time. We as small businesses constantly have the “threat” over our heads of larger companies offering bigger and better fish, and we simply cannot keep up with it.
I was able to start offering health insurance plans to my employees about a year ago, and it’s costing me a pretty penny. With time, I would love to increase the amount of coverage they get, other benefits, such as retirement plans. I just think it is going to take a while, since the last two years have been rough on most businesses, and we are no exception.
What do we do about it?
I think at the end of the day, we cannot truly prevent turnover. It is going to happen. But just like any other business owner, I sincerely hope that it will at least slow down for a while.
My mission is to make sure that I do whatever is in my power to keep my employees happy. I can’t offer them the world (yet), but I can offer them a positive work environment that they enjoy so much that they don’t want to leave. No workplace is perfect, but we can strive to do our best every day and not lose focus of that.
Some of my recommendations are:
- Give them flexibility. A lot of businesses are home-based these days. We recently switched to working remotely as well and it’s working out great for us! We need a structure in order to operate a business, but I don’t believe in over-working my team. If they need to take care of other life things, they get the opportunity to do so (within reason!).
- Have an open-door policy. Be approachable for your employees. Give them the comfort of being able to approach you, even if the topic is uncomfortable.
- Be transparent. Let them know what your goals are! Tell them that you are working on raising their pay, offering better benefits, or whatever it may be that would make them happy – and continue working towards it!
- Be a servant leader. Work hard towards communicating to your team that you are all in the same boat. You are working towards the same goals, and you are not above them.
I want this post to serve as an encouragement to other business owners. I know it’s hard to find good talent. I am very fortunate to have a team of absolute rockstars. I have found some amazing people to fill the gaps we experienced from others leaving. Our team is solid, we have great skills and wonderful personalities on our team, and I couldn’t be happier about where we are right now. Remember, they are out there. Sometimes it takes a little while, but don’t give up trying to find that talent!
You’re not alone!
Most of all, know that you are not alone! They call it a “great resignation” for a reason, and that is trickling down into our small businesses! The frustrations you are experiencing are not just on your end. Just know that we are going through the same thing.
Please talk to other business owners, you will feel better about it. It’s a rough time, but we can get through this. Keep your focus on coming out stronger on the other side of this tunnel and keep setting one foot in front of the other!