A survey of 7,000 U.S. workers across 19 industries conducted by the nonprofit group Mental Health America and the Faas Foundation found that 71% of workers are looking to change employers. Darren Hardy, author and executive coach, claims that 1 out of 7 employees are on the hunt for new work. Losing even one employee can be most devastating to a startup.

The main reason: Employees leave bosses, not companies. Here are two powerful, simple, affordable and frequently overlooked ways to retain valuable employees:

#1  There is much to be gained from regular one-on-one, face-to-face, distraction free, check in conversations with your employees. People are drawn to bosses who mindfully listen and show appreciation for their talents. Taking 10-15 minutes to check in with your staff on a personal and professional level every couple weeks helps build trust and rapport ( staying power).

If those kinds of conversations feel awkward, prepare a couple open-ended questions that get a conversation moving, like How is the job going? If I could make it more pleasant, more efficient or help you do your job better, what would it take? Let them talk. Take notes. You may not be able to fulfill every wish, but at least you give them the opportunity to express them. Then, follow up with their suggestions within a week to 10 days. This further demonstrates a sincere appreciation and respect for their input. You can ask these same kinds of questions in a group setting, but you’ll learn more in the one-on-one meetings.

#2  Reinforce the obvious and not-so-obvious accomplishments. Celebrate the sales, the negotiated contracts and technical breakthroughs, of course. But don’t forget the little things that make the business better. The not-so-obvious, but noteworthy acts to mention include stepping up to cover for a colleague, meeting a difficult customer’s demand, picking up lunch, etc. Actions like these allowed for productivity where there might have been none. No positive, helpful act that serves the business well should be overlooked.

Oftentimes, it is a founder’s modest and meaningful acts of connection that keep a team intact.

If your staff retention rates run low, look to creating better connections. I can help. Contact me at [email protected]

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