How to improve employee morale and decrease turnover in small businesses

By Brooke Chaplan

With many companies experiencing frequent employee turnover, you are probably looking for ways to build morale and reduce the turnover rate. Fortunately, it is not hard to do both when you plan ahead and take a positive approach to meeting these objectives. Here are four easy ways to help your small business improve company morale and decrease turnover.

Provide adequate training and guidance

Nothing is more frustrating for a new employee than to be hired for a position for which training is needed, but not provided. A new employee may have most of the experience needed for a job, except that he or she needs more training in a certain area. Another scenario is when employers hire someone they believe will be a good fit with proper grooming and training. Make sure that the right kind of training and trainer are available to equip employees with the necessary skills. Not only will this enable workers to do a good job, but it will also help them to feel appreciated and valued as demonstrated by your training investment.

Offer more praise than criticism

Critiquing an employee’s performance is an important way for managers and supervisors to help workers understand how to improve their skills. However, it is arguably even more important to be proactive and to compliment effective workmanship in order to instill pride in employees who are doing well. When you must reprimand or even discipline an employee who you want to retain in your company, temper negative feedback with positive observations about things the person is doing well. It also helps to offer regular benefits and comments about the good work of employees, as this makes them feel recognized and take pride and ownership of their contribution to your company.

Designate an annual recognition event

Many successful businesses host a yearly luncheon or dinner to recognize and celebrate employee achievements. You can easily find corporate awards at a trophy outlet that you can then give to employees to recognize them. Consider buying a plaque or trophy to commemorate milestones reached by hard workers. A tangible acknowledgement of their contribution will improve morale and help employees to feel their work plays a valuable role in the company’s success.

Help employees become stakeholders

Encourage your employees to take a whole-hearted interest in their work. Invite their suggestions and concerns. Be sensitive to family situations that may require temporary job flexibility. Treat everyone like a team member so they feel included and appreciated. Employees who are praised, rewarded, and supported in various ways will become increasingly dedicated to the business in mutually beneficial ways.

By showing your employees that their lives matter and their work is valued, you will receive a substantial return on your investment in the ways they respond to your trust and support. Be honest, but also be affirming to keep your workers satisfied and dedicated. By following these tips, you will be able to retain more employees and keep them happy at your small business.


Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most of her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information, contact Brooke via Facebook at or Twitter @BrookeChaplan.

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