How can small businesses retain their employees?

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The employee turnover rate can have a ripple effect on the company. As workers who are leaving the company put an extra strain on existing staff members. It may also force them to look for work elsewhere. High turnover rate makes the company unstable and reduces productivity. It can also harm the reputation and growth of the company. According to the PWC study, South Africa’s overall employee turnover rate is 11,5%, of which 49,8% are due to resignations.


What is employee turnover?

Employee turnover is when an employee does not stay long in a company. These can happen both voluntarily or involuntary. Voluntary turnover is when an employee decides to quit their job or resign with immediate effect. On the other side, involuntary employee turnover is when the employer dismisses the employee for various reasons.

In Episode 7 of the Pat on Brands Dialogues, Patrick Mahlangu and Nompumeleo Satsha had a discussion with Daisy Lepheana – Managing Director at Affinity Human Capital who helped them to answer a burning question that most entrepreneurs have: Why do many small businesses have high employee turnover?

Here are some of the important tips Daisy shared on how small businesses can retain their employees.

Image: People Matters

Praise and recognition

How do you feel when you receive sincere recognition from your boss? Isn’t that cool?

Praising employees is essential for entrepreneurs to build a strong work culture and environment. Employees often want to be recognized and praised for their achievements and efforts. A simple “thank you” builds trust and forms bonds between people.

Employees want to work in an empowered and supportive environment. Employers need to invest in the development and growth of their employees. Offer them training and ask them what their goals are and help them achieve their goals

Give employee rewards.

Offering rewards and benefits is just as important as a good salary.

Rewards are a great way of motivating and empowering employees to achieve the optimal goal. Rewards don’t have to always be financial. Employees can simply be rewarded by allowing them to work remotely or in an environment that excites them.

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Image: Business2Consumer


Bringing someone back in the zone through communication is very important for employees. Arrange team-building activities; listen to all thoughts and ideas. Communicate with them regularly in meetings and arrange a one-on-one catch-up sessions. Having an open-door policy is an effective way of keeping employees happy and comfortable to share their ideas.


Onboarding is another effective way to retain top talent. It is a kind of induction that allows employees to get to know the company culture better. Describe the organizational culture, policies, procedures, and the key performance indicators (KPI) to the employee.

A high employee turnover rate is a common problem in many small businesses. By understanding the main reason why and how to prevent it, entrepreneurs will stop their companies from suffering the same fate. Motivating, satisfying, and managing your team builds loyalty.