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10 Tips for Keeping Your Employees Happy and Loyal

Keeping employees happy is crucial in any economy. Recent surveys show that when hiring picks up again, the majority of employees plan to seek new positions. How can you make sure your staff isn’t among them? Try these 10 tips.

  1. Help them grow as employees. Whether by cross-training them on new duties, asking what skills they’d like to develop, or taking advantage of industry seminars and training, help your staff learn new skills and your business will benefit.
  2. Don’t micromanage. When you assign a task, make sure the employee has the tools and information needed to complete it, but let him or her determine how to handle the job.
  3. Ask for input. Next time there’s a problem in your business, get your employees’ ideas on how to deal with it. Workers on the front lines will often have better solutions than you do.
  4. Tell the truth. Are profits down? Do you need to cut costs? Being honest (in other words, treating people like grownups) builds trust. Don’t scare your staff, but don’t sugarcoat reality, either.
  5. Let them goof up. Employees who are afraid to make mistakes won’t take risks—and that means your business won’t grow. When errors occur, don’t come down so hard on employees that they’re scared to think for themselves.
  6. Be flexible. As a small-business owner, you make the rules. Offering flexibility (working at home, or flex-time) is a great reward, as long as they’re getting their jobs done.
  7. Give them the proper tools. Dealing with inadequate equipment or inefficient systems drains employees’ energy. Often, small, simple upgrades or workflow adjustments make a huge difference in your staff’s quality of life.
  8. Offer perks that matter. Not every employee wants the same thing. Some are motivated by a bonus or health insurance, others by a day off or free pizza lunches on Fridays. When implementing perks, survey your staff first to make sure you’re offering rewards they value.
  9. Show respect. Feeling that they are not respected is a major reason people leave their jobs—even when the money is good. Give respect, and you’ll get it in return.
  10. Be real. In a small office, you can’t fake who you are—so don’t try to be the “zany” boss if you’re naturally serious. Let your employees see your real personality (while still being professional, of course). You’ll build stronger bonds and a better team.

Rieva Lesonsky is founder and president of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Before launching her business, she was Editorial Director of Entrepreneur Magazine. Follow Rieva at and read more of her insights on

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