Starting and running a small business is no easy task. With finding customers and clients, keeping your books straight and paying your taxes, there are more than enough challenges on your plate to keep you busy.


But the number one challenge facing business owners right now? — Finding quality talent, and keeping them happy enough to stay with you.


As any seasoned business owner can attest, the process of attracting the right candidates to your company is easier said than done. There are a lot of fish in the sea, but the ones you actually want to catch are being swept up by the thousands of other boats on the water.


And once you do catch a good one, the trick becomes creating an environment where they’ll enjoy working for you, and one that can gives them the highest quality life–both inside and outside the office.


So what can you do to keep those high-value fish (I mean employees) from jumping ship? Keeping reading for our tried and true suggestions, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!



1. Encourage Office Social Activities


One of the best ways to make your employees enjoy coming to work is to transition them from simply being each other’s coworkers to being each other’s friends. Nurturing those inter-office friendships will increase morale and will also give your staff a sense of accountability for each other. 

Propose weekly group events–maybe a lunch outing on Fridays or Happy Hour drinks on Mondays. Don’t be afraid to be spontaneous either–if it’s been a particularly strenuous few days, then march onto the floor an announce that everyone’s cutting off early to grab cocktails or a bite to eat.


One of our employees happens to have a boat, so periodically, we’ll make a split decision go out inner-tubing, blow off some steam, and just have a ton a fun.



2. Be a Teacher


Employees, especially millennials, don’t want to be in an environment where  they begin to feel like their walking a rut. They want to feel like they’re constantly progressing in their careers, that they’re making some sort of impact, and that they’re always learning.


You’re not a business owner by accident; it took years and years of accrued knowledge and strife to get where you are today. So spread the wealth! Share that knowledge with your employees; take them aside to explain bits about the business’ operations, give them responsibility and a sense of importance, and don’t be afraid to put the right employees in positions just beyond their breadth. The challenge will engage them and add to their sense of fulfillment at the end of the week.


If they feel as though they are growing more valuable with each passing day, they’ll stay more invested and you’ll have more skillful employees within no time.



3. Offer Benefits


I know, I know. This is easier said than done. But study after study has shown that health benefits are the number one thing employees care about most.


And can you blame them?


People want to know they’re protected in the event something goes wrong. You don’t want to find yourself with a broken limb in the emergency room, or staring down the barrel of life-altering diagnosis in the doctor’s office without proper coverage.


Yes, for a long time, providing benefits as a small business owner was expensive–but there are solutions now that make offering quality healthcare coverage a very viable option. Candor USA, for example, has a self-enrollment portal where you can purchase plans for your employees entirely at your leisure.


Once you’ve chosen a selection, your employees can then choose from those same plans. No surprises, no fine print–you know about what your bottom line will be before the plans are even presented to your staff.


And you don’t even need to contribute, if you don’t want to (though your employees would certainly appreciate it if you did). Candor’s plans, on average, are 8-12% more affordable than what they would find on the ACA marketplace–so it’s “win-win” for everyone.


If you want to go through for yourself and see some rates, you can get started at today!



4. Offer Generous Paid-Time Off


Another thing potential employees are always scouting for are the businesses offering the most paid-time off.


We’re not saying that you need to go full-on “Silicon Valley” and implement a “work when you want” paradigm, but trending towards the upper end of the average PTO range will certainly get more people in the door.


The “experiential generation” (aka millennials) have granted more importance to a healthy work/life balance than any generation before them. It’s much less about the  “a penny saved is a penny earned” mentality, and more about a “life is for living” mantra.


They want to take that once-in-a-lifetime trip to Japan, or spend a couple of weeks learning how to surf in Morocco. Allowing them this time will always only increase their loyalty towards you, their employer, and if you cultivate a workplace where employees are used to truly covering for each other during these times, you’ll end with a company full of well-rounded machines–rather than individual cogs.



5.  Emphasize Wellness


Healthy employees are happy employees, and happy employees are productive employees. Promoting wellness throughout your company is a surefire way to exponentially increase efficiency. If you employees are fit, both physically and mentally, they’ll feel better about themselves and that confidence will carry over into work-related endeavors.


Consider negotiating with your local gym to offer your employees discounted memberships, or fund a few half-marathons throughout the year (with the contingency that everyone wear branded running apparel, of course).


Another idea is to bring in a masseuse for the day once or twice per month. Letting everyone have a 30-minute massage is sure to drop the stress level back down to a soft zero.


And don’t forget about mental health–after all, true wellness starts from within. Depression and anxiety are at record highs these days, but there are several ways to combat that. Make sure you maintain an office environment where employees feel comfortable expressing themselves, and if they do need to talk things through with a professional, there’s a program called Prosper Benefits that offers a remote counseling program. With this, your employees will be able to speak with a licensed therapist–even if it’s from the office stairwell or during the drive home from work.


If  that’s something you’d like to offer for your staff, you can find the program link here. Prosper Benefits also comes with 3 additional programs–Telemedicine, Health Advocacy, and Medical Bill Saver. That’s a lot of value you can provide to your staff–especially if you’e not in a place where you can provide traditional health benefits.



6. Have a Cool Office Space


Give your staff an work space that’s truly Instagram-worthy. It sounds simple, but the fluorescent-lit dungeons that come to mind when the word “office” is muttered are an artifact of the 20th century.


Nice views (our office overlooks a river), trendy furnishings, exposed brick, beer taps, cereal bars–these are the things that will get people in the door and make them want to stay there. If your office space looks more like a hangout area, and less like a cold, corporate grave yard for dreams gone-by, it will foster more creativity and encourage people stay well after the clock strikes five.


Think about bringing in an interior designer, or splurging for that 15th floor window office. It may seem like a waste of money, but your future and present employees will appreciate it, and we’re sure that you’ll see the productivity returns as a result.


So there you go–six great ways to attract new talent, and keep them there once you get them. And if you are considering providing health benefits, do check out The mention of included healthcare coverage will jump off a job listing far more than any other perk. And you’ll have happier, healthier employees because of them. Just some food for thought; stay tuned for the next post. Cheers!