Log onto Google. Type in “How Much Money Do You Save Keeping an Employee.”
Oh, whoops, I meant to say, be sure you’re sitting down.

For management-level employees, Credly.com says: “according to Gallup, the cost of replacing an individual employee can range from one-half to two times the employee’s annual salary.” This means to replace a $60,000 manager can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $120,000 in turnover costs. Replacing hourly employees, according to multiple sources on this search, came in at $1,500 per employee.

Some who aren’t business owners might not fully grasp the costs that go into finding and hiring new staff. Turnover expenses include things like: training costs, advertising costs, headhunter fees, lost productivity for the missing employee, interview/onboarding staff time, new employee training errors, loss of customer loyalty who liked that staff member, and production losses due to lowering company morale (teammates not doing their best because they get stressed covering for the missing employee, or not being as engaged if that co-worker was a friend).

Which brings us to employee retention — keeping your employees so you don’t need to find new ones. Employee retention for many owners can be a huge point of stress. Most people think that compensation is the answer- but as I’ve discussed in other columns, stability, respect, benefits and work-life balance are all nearly as important as compensation, especially for the younger generations.

From the employer perspective, retention strategies cost money, but if you don’t invest in some of these retention strategies then you will assuredly be spending for turnover expenses. From the employee side, they want to be part of an organization that compensates them, but they also want to be part of something meaningful where their voice is heard.

The Great Resignation has been as much about people retiring as it is about employees jumping to new opportunities. Sometimes those changes were because of a new challenge, or dream job, while other times the culture, benefits, or opportunities at a new employer seemed too good to pass up. Larger employers have become competitive with new creative benefits for employees, while smaller businesses don’t feel they can compete with better-funded competitors — I believe you can.


For employees only driven by compensation, a smaller business can’t match the larger ones, but then again that’s always been true. However, you can make your organizational culture anything you want, and the more desirable it is, the more employees are likely to stay.

Here are 12 employee benefits that are happening in the market right now. Some of these you may not be able to afford currently, but it’s good for you to know they’re out there, and perhaps these can be something you strive towards. Other solutions you can implement today.

  • Flexible scheduling: This been a big piece since the pandemic, but the organizations that can offer this, even in small amounts, have seen huge benefits.
  • School bus shifts: Childcare is a major cost for many families, so some potential employees may be available after they put their kids on the bus, as long as they can be home when the kids get off the bus. You might consider this come fall. Could your business use a great employee working 4-5 days per week from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.?
  • Remote work: Working from home, even one or two days a week, can do a ton for employee well-being, work-life balance, and productivity. Many employees who work a day or two at home save specific labor-intensive projects for those times, which are easier to get done without constant workplace interruptions.
  • Four-day work weeks: Many of us just came off another three-day weekend- be honest, don’t you feel more re-charged? Don’t you feel like you got a chance to unplug? How much more productive could you be if this was every week? What does that do for your work-life balance? Some companies have employees working 4-10s rather than 5- eights and getting great results.
  • Chosen family bereavement: Many companies have bereavement policies for kin, but in 2022, many people have friends who are as close as family. What does it cost you to allow employees to add those chosen family members to their bereavement list? They won’t likely be very productive those days anyway. Doesn’t that show respect?
  • Pet bereavement: My wife and I are animal lovers, and every time we lose a pet it’s devastating. My organization let’s me schedule my time off and I’m so glad I’ve been able to be there for my wife on these occasions. What did that do to my company loyalty?
  • DJ for a week: How about rotating the music in your business and letting the employees choose? Maybe it’s a reward for an employee contest?
  • Lunch on me/baking contest: Do you buy lunch occasionally for staff- let them decide what they want. Or, how many people are bakers? Have a company bake off.
  • Charity committee: Many business owners give to charity. Why not let your employees decide who you give too? Or maybe have a collection box at work, or use the returned bottle money and at the end of the year, and let them decide where to send it?
  • Stay interviews: Schedule a meeting with each staff member with the only purpose of the meeting to ask them how you can make their work experience better. And listen without counterpointing. Only ask clarifying questions- let them be heard.
  • Paid volunteerism: Encourage your employees to volunteer and pay them for 4-5 hours per month of volunteer time.
  • Institute paid quarterly employee holidays: Pick four days out of the year, one per quarter, which are employee appreciation days. You are closed for those days, slap a sign on the door that says “employee appreciation day; we’re closed”. Everybody gets paid to just have a day off that they wouldn’t normally have.

Do you have other great ideas for retention? E-mail me at [email protected] I’d love to hear them.

Cory King is the executive director of the Bath-Brunswick Regional Chamber.

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