Employee shortages are solely half the battle for small companies. Retaining workers is simply as essential.

Discovering workers has been a significant problem for small companies on this tight labor market. As I wrote final 12 months, quite a lot of small corporations are working to fulfill this problem by getting referrals from their present workers or others of their neighborhood. On-line job websites, faculty job boards, social media and commerce colleges are additionally well-liked locations to seek out folks.

However discovering good folks is simply half the problem.

The opposite — and, for my part, extra essential — problem is retaining your finest staff. It is not unusual for my small-business shoppers to complain of the difficulties of competing in opposition to bigger corporations, and even the federal government, in relation to compensation and advantages.

But working for a small enterprise has its personal distinctive benefits. And lots of modern enterprise homeowners within the area have found out tips on how to leverage these benefits to maintain their workers completely satisfied — and constant.

One essential benefit of working at a small enterprise is the belief and autonomy that an worker can take pleasure in. Working for a giant firm typically means having to abide by guidelines, processes and rules.

However the procedures at smaller corporations could be much less onerous and may enable workers — even youthful workers — the possibility to be unbiased and tackle extra duty.

Tina Dixon Spence makes it some extent to empower her workers. She owns Buddha Babe, a Philadelphia-based luxurious design studio that focuses on equipment for infants, toddlers and the house.

And he or she’s busy. Dixon Spence and on her youthful staff to assist her handle her enterprise. Her workers sew for manufacturing, placed on their instructor hats when wanted, and immediately assist clients who stroll in or name.

“I hear horror tales from college students about interning at bigger corporations and being given no freedom or alternative to specific themselves,” she mentioned. “I wish to give my workers pores and skin within the sport and make them really feel possession.” Because of this, Dixon Spence has created a small however fiercely loyal crew of younger designers.

Flexibility can be essential. Adjustable schedules and dealing from house have develop into important advantages in 2022, and smaller companies could be extra accommodating in how they provide these advantages in contrast with bigger corporations with extra inflexible insurance policies.

A four-day workweek has additionally develop into a preferred profit to supply, as have expanded paid-time-off plans.

Wendy Smith Born, who co-owns and runs the retail operations at Metropolitan Bakery in Philadelphia, discovered {that a} four-day schedule suited her workforce.

“My workers say it is higher for his or her psychological well being and their productiveness, and I feel we’ve to hearken to that,” she advised me final February.

» READ MORE: Small companies ought to take into account a four-day workweek this 12 months in a decent labor market

In fact, to retain staff, even the smallest of companies want to offer compensation that is no less than within the vary of competitiveness.

The easiest way to verify of that is to check the wages you are providing with nationwide knowledge compiled and made out there at no cost on such platforms as Glassdoor, Payscale and LinkedIn. Fundamental advantages to retain workers ought to embody each well being care and retirement plans.

Allegra Derengowski, who owns Birchtree Catering in Frankford, provides medical insurance for her seven full-time workers.

Jill Ervais, who along with her husband, Duke Dunne, runs the favored Blokes Barbershop & Gentleman’s Emporium in Outdated Metropolis, mentioned she pays 65% of her workers’ medical insurance premiums (which incorporates dental), a quantity she mentioned is “remarkable” in her business.

Some enterprise homeowners I do know are all about rising, even when that progress places a pressure on their workforce and dangers burning out workers. The catering enterprise could be very aggressive, so turning away work could be exhausting.

However, in deference to her employees, Derengowski tries her finest to not overdo it. She mentioned she used to tackle an excessive amount of work after which must clamor for folks on the final minute and put extra stress on her present workers. Now, she’s studying to higher reside inside her capability, and her workers are happier due to it.

“Now we have a really robust sense of what we are able to and can’t deal with,” she mentioned. “We all know that we won’t deal with greater than about 300 folks in a day, in order that’s our present cap. It relieves plenty of stress.”

Derengowski additionally began organizing carpools and paying drivers a bit additional in order that her workers might get to and from occasions with out having to fret about their security.

All of those techniques assist retain workers. However an important factor any enterprise proprietor can do is solely to offer a relaxed and enjoyable place to work. Bringing in lunch. Vacation picnics. Half-day Fridays. Open door insurance policies. And offering an surroundings the place workers can really feel snug simply being themselves.

Some caterers, for instance, require their workers to be inflexible and restrained whereas on the job. However Derengowski likes it when her workers be part of within the enjoyable at occasions — even dancing with company — and really feel snug simply being themselves.

“I understand that individuals are simply doing a job and that all of us must work and be productive members of society,” she mentioned. “But when I can create an surroundings the place my workers are in a position to come to work and have a very good time, then I do know they will be completely satisfied coming again. I belief them and I am by no means involved that they will do one thing too wild and loopy.”

Ervais describes her husband, who runs the barber store flooring, as a particular “folks pleaser,” a key persona trait that helps hold his employees completely satisfied throughout these lengthy days on their ft.

It is also not unusual, she mentioned, for him to “pour a whiskey or two” for his or her employees as soon as the day is over.

“However by no means, by no means, by no means,” Ervais harassed, “whereas they’re chopping somebody’s hair!”

Gene Marks is an authorized public accountant and the proprietor of the Marks Group, a expertise and monetary administration consulting agency in Bala Cynwyd.