How small businesses can retain talent and boost employee performance

Here are four ways to take advantage of your small business status and keep your team happy, loyal and engaged.

You might not have the manpower of a larger business, but there’s plenty to be said for a small and tight-knit team. From employee perks to productivity hacks, here are four ways to take advantage of your small-business status and keep your team happy, loyal and engaged.

Increase performance by offering choice

Night owls, meticulous planners, sprinters and new parents: everybody works best under different conditions. As a small business, it’s much easier to implement flexi-time and allow people to work from home, and the benefits are huge: employees are much more productive and loyal when they have some say in how they organise their time. Larger companies can find this difficult to manage, as coordinating schedules can be challenging and it’s harder to keep track of how well remote employees are performing.

Retain talent with small-biz perks

Large corporates can’t usually afford to treat everyone to lunch each week, or finish early on a whim. You can. Workplace happiness is crucial to employee retention, and can actually be more effective than salary in preventing talent from jumping ship — 80-90 per cent of employees actually leave for reasons other than money, so building a strong relationship with your team and focusing on employee growth and happiness can go a long way to keeping them around.

Splash out on tech to attract millennials

According to a recent study, 58 per cent of millennials said the provision of state-of-the-art technology was important to them when considering a new job. Again, this is an area where you can easily gain some ground on larger competitors: upgrading office technology can be a lengthy and gruelling procedure for big companies. Transitions from old tech to new can be challenging, security needs to be addressed, staff need training…and then, of course, there’s the obvious fact that 200 new laptops cost more than 20 new laptops.

New tech, particularly in communal spaces like meeting rooms, can also be a fantastic way to boost productivity and engagement. Working collaboratively on an Interactive Flat Panel Display can help keep everybody involved and prevent documents from spawning conflicting copies. Cloud-based storage and collaborative tech are a match made in heaven.

Discuss the future

As a company grows, there’s potential for employees to grow along with it. When talking about the future, start-ups and small businesses can benefit from explaining what that means for their team. Ask employees where they’d like to take their career, and see how that aligns with the business’s growth plans. If employees feel they have room to progress, and perhaps even shape their next role, they’ll be much more inclined to stick around — and more motivated to put in the hard work. Large corporates are often much more rigid when it comes to career progression, so the opportunity for employees to shape their own roles as the company grows is a huge benefit that only a small business can offer.

These are just a few ways that small companies can offer a more rewarding experience to employees. There are plenty more, and some will be specific to your brand. By taking advantage of these opportunities, you can keep your employees productive, loyal, and invested in your growth as a business.

Further reading on employee performance

Ben Lobel

Delphine Hintz

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.