Small Business

How to Retain Key Employees for Your Small Business

Updated on November 30, 2019


Employee retention refers to how long employees stay with your company. Good employee retention means you have little turnover, and employees generally tend to stick around. This is a good thing for a small business, because it means less training time, and hopefully it means that they are sticking around because you are doing something right!

How to retain employees

There is no sure-fire way to increase employee retention, but there are some suggestions, backed by studies, that might help increase employee retention. What it really comes down to is making your employees’ jobs – and job climate – desirable.

You know your employees are important, and you don’t want to lose them… but how to go about retaining your employees? Check out some suggestions for creative ways to retain employees.

Offering quality benefits to increase employee retention

This is a great way to show your employees how much you appreciate and value their work. Studies have shown that benefits like health, dental, and life insurance matter to many employees more than pay raises.

When someone comes to work for you, she wants to know that you are offering her what she’s  worth. If you want skilled employees who put quality work in for your small business, then you should seriously consider a group health insurance plan and maybe some ancillary benefits like life, dental, and vision.

Keep in mind, under current law, small business owners with fewer than 50 employers are not required to offer health insurance. But if employee retention is a high priority for you, it might be a good idea to check out your health insurance options on a well-established insurance broker website like eHealth. Watch the video below to understand more about your obligations as a small business owner.

How to retain employees: Fostering a positive work environment

There are plenty of creative ways you can foster a positive work environment in order to improve employee retention. You can ask around your small business to see some changes or additions that your employees would like to see. Some potential changes for a positive environment could be:

  • Encouraging teamwork
  • Planning outings and team-building activities
  • Improving communication

There are other creative ways you might promote employee retention in your small business. If your small business operates out of an office, some simple environmental changes could be a quick fix for improving employee retention. Below are possible ideas for improving employee retention through office-space changes:

  • Improve lighting. The American Psychological Association published a study done that found lighting affects cognition, stress and well-being, and social psychology among other factors. The study also demonstrated that, when given control over lighting in their space, employees are more upbeat, feel more committed to their employer, and have improved overall well-being.
  • Make the office comfortable. If you want to increase employee retention through your office space, you don’t have to do anything drastic. In an article published by ScienceDirect, different collections of research prove that layout of individual workspaces, workplace color schemes, and interior plants can all affect productivity and well-being of employees. Aside from aesthetic factors, temperature, air quality, and noise conditions also affect employees’ over all well-being. These aesthetic and health-related factors in the office have been proven to affect employees’ attitudes, satisfaction, work performance, and behaviors. Showing that you care about your employees’ comfort and health is a good step towards promoting employee retention.
  • Allow flexibility. Giving your employees some flexibility with how they work could help with employee retention. Some people work better moving space to space; others work well in the “open office” concept; and certain employees might do better with complete privacy and silence. Obviously, you can’t accommodate everyone, but being flexible with your employees’ needs could help improve employee retention. You can try letting people work from home once a week, or allowing longer breaks so employees can have more time to themselves. You could also allow employees to put there eight hours in however works best for them; for example, “morning people” might appreciate starting at 7 am.

Some of these office practices could cost you little to no money, and if your employees are interested in trying out some of these creative office-space boosters, then it might be worth your time! Keep in mind that these techniques don’t guarantee improved employee retention.

Increasing employee retention is going to depend on your employees

When it really comes down to it, talking to your employees about what they want is a great way to increase employee retention. Communicating with your small business employees and doing what is within your power to meet their needs could seriously help with retaining employees.

It might not be as hard as you think to increase employee retention

If you want to go for a group health insurance plan, it may not be as difficult or expensive as you thought. eHealth has plenty of options for affordable small business health insurance, and we boast an enrollment process that can be done completely online. Visit to see how you can find a plan that meets your needs and your employees’ needs.

We’ll let you know when we publish anything new.