How to Retain Employees and Attract the Best Talent for Your Small Business

Apr 12, 2021 2 min read

Employ retention is essential to the success of your business; it’s important to find, hire and keep the best people. A 2012 study1 found that top performers are 400% more productive than average performers. When you have someone like that on your team, it’s important to do all you can to keep them! Here’s how.

Invest in Your Employees

You can’t have a conversation about attracting and retaining top quality employees without talking about offering competitive pay and generous benefits. Today, workers aren’t afraid to move companies to find a place that compensates them for their talents. This includes a reasonable salary, as well as other benefits like retirement savings, paid time off and parental leave. You can also explore non-standard benefit options, like gym access or employee rewards programs to improve employee retention.

Provide Training

Starting a new job is difficult, especially for people who are driven by results. It’s simply difficult to get going because there is so much to learn right away. Help your new employees succeed by having a formal onboarding and training program. Not only will this get them up-to-speed faster, it will also make them feel good about their decision to join your team.

Encourage Learning and Innovation

Employees who are passionate about their jobs and committed to working hard are often people who enjoy learning. Consider offering them opportunities to grow their skills and knowledge — things like paying for education courses, offering time for them to attend industry gatherings and subscribing to resources from which your employees can learn. You can also provide real-time learning opportunities by giving employees opportunities to take on new responsibilities or helping them address a weakness.

Giving employees an opportunity to think creatively and implement innovative practices is also a way for them to stretch their thinking and learn new skills. Plus, when they make an impact on their workplace they will be more engaged, which leads to greater productivity.

Offer Opportunities for Growth

According to a LinkedIn report, “Why and How People Change Jobs,” 59% of employees joined companies for better career paths or more opportunities and 45% of employees who left their job cited concerns over a lack of advancement opportunities. For millennial employees, development was particularly important; 63% said their leadership skills were not being developed and that was an important driver when evaluating job opportunities. Your best employees want to be recognized and see movement in their career journey. Ensure that you have growth and advancement opportunities — and that those are clearly communicated — so that your employees know that they can continue to move forward in their career without moving away from your business.

Be Intentional About DEAI Initiatives

DEAI — diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion — initiatives have the power to attract and retain — or drive away —  talented employees. When you make pay equality, accessibility and diverse hiring practices a priority, you send a message that you value your employees and their varied experiences and skill sets.

Additionally, offering things like flexible working situations (such as work from home or non-traditional hours) you also broaden your candidate pool. For example, someone with a chronic illness may have to work different hours to accommodate a treatment regime; that doesn’t mean that they don’t work as hard or contribute as much as someone who is at their desk 9-5.

When you surround yourself with people from different backgrounds and experiences, you gain the benefit of a variety of voices helping you build your business.

Build Connections

Relationships with coworkers are an important aspect of job satisfaction. Taking referrals when looking for new employees and encouraging friendships to grow can help you recruit and retain top talent while also fostering an open and team-oriented workplace.

Additionally, connecting to your community through donations and service shows employees that they are part of something larger. It helps them feel like what they do is worth something beyond their paycheck; that is valuable to many people.


Employee retention is an important aspect of your business; if you have key people in leadership positions, consider key employee insurance. You can also talk with a Farm Bureau agent about ensuring that your business is protected.



Herman Aguinis and Ernest O’Boyle Jr., “The best and the rest: Revisiting the norm of normality in individual performance,” Personal Psychology, Volume 65, Issue 1, Spring 2012, pp. 79–119,

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