Expectations and gratitude are essential parts of employee retention strategies

Many small business find hiring talented employees difficult. Getting the good ones to stick around might be even harder. A successful employee retention strategy is essential to not only attaining excellence, but staying there as well.

However, walking the tightrope between benevolent boss and overbearing manager can be perilous, which is why experts agree the best employee retention strategies feature equal parts setting expectations and rewarding performance.

Laying down the gauntlet
According to Entrepreneur magazine, the very first step all small-business owners need to take on hiring new employees is delineating clear expectations for everything from their performance in the office to whether or not they’re allowed to work from home. Going over the job description and elaborating on areas where you think the new employee might struggle can be a great way of ensuring that you’re both on the same page, too.

The source recommended going over small details about the job as well. Did you hire this person to focus on a specific objective? Are there certain operational wrinkles like returning emails in a timely manner that you want the new hire to be aware of? This is the time to go over all of those issues so you minimize confusion and crossed wires going forward.

Playing nice
While you don’t have to play bad cop when introducing new employees to your business’ way of doing things, Monster.com explained that when it comes to employees who exceed expectations, the carrot is much more effective than the stick. Paul Herbert, managing director at incentive design consultancy firm I2I, told the source recognizing employees for a job well done is an investment into higher productivity.

“When employees feel recognized by their employer, studies show they are more satisfied in their jobs,” Herbert said. “The best recognition programs aren’t really ‘programs’ at all. There’s no start or end date, only the act of saying to someone – in front of other people –‘You did good.'”

Also, if you want to make the moment feel a little more official, consider giving employees personalized products to commemorate their achievements. Something like Myron’s Crescent Silver Plate Photo Frame gives employees the option to display their award to other colleagues in the office, which might be even more impactful than a kind word from the boss.

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