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Finding skilled and motivated employees has always been difficult, but keeping them happy and fulfilled so that they stay on long enough to make the time spent recruiting and training them worth your while is often the most challenging part.

A recent study carried out by the University of Wisconsin shows that replacing an employee who earns $9.50 an hour could cost you as much as $2,200 in recruitment and training.

While it is true that most employees do not stay with the same company for the duration of their careers, there are some things you can do to reduce employee turnover and keep your business running smoothly. Here are a few tips on how to do just that:

Be selective when hiring

It would be better to leave a position open for a bit longer than hire an employee who isn’t a good fit for the job. Along with being qualified to do the job, the right employee should also fit in well with their coworkers, managers and the company culture.

A person’s attitude is equally as important as their skills, if not more so, because skills can be taught, while attitude and character is usually there to stay.

When recruiting, make sure you give prospective employees a clear picture of what the company is like and what will be expected of them so that everyone is on the same page.

Many organizations these days no longer wait around for people to apply for a certain position, but instead, they go looking for people who will fit the bill, which often results in a much higher employee retention rate.

Implement a trial period

No matter how careful you are when recruiting employees, it is still difficult to know how someone will fit in and take to their new job until you have actually seen them in action.

Before you hire someone on a permanent basis, it can be helpful to implement a trial period during which both you and the prospective employee have the opportunity to see whether or not they make a good team.

You will probably lose some employees during this trial period, but the up side is that those who do choose to stay with you are far more likely to be in it for the long haul, which will ultimately save you time and money.

Offer a competitive wage

Many employers mistakenly assume that they are saving money by paying no more than the minimum wage, when in fact; it may actually be costing them money.

If your employees don’t feel like they are being adequately compensated for their work or they are given a better offer by a rival company, you will end up spending far more than you saved on recruiting and training new employees.

When the working conditions are good and employees are receiving a competitive wage, they will have little reason to go elsewhere, which will save yourself a lot of stress in the long run.

Try to provide employees with a flexible schedule

These days, with so many alternatives to the usual nine to five jobs, from telecommuting to online work to freelancing, employees have become more demanding with regards to the flexibility of their working hours.

If your scheduling does not accommodate your employee’s lifestyle they will simply move on to a company that does. Single parents, students, older employees and those who work part time all have different needs and taking the time to look at each individual’s needs will greatly reduce employee turnover.

A recent survey showed that over 90% of workers consider flexibility in their working hours to be a major factor in their decision to remain with their current company. This includes allowing employees to telecommute when possible or set their own working hours as long as deadlines are met.

Give employees a challenge but set attainable goals

A bored and unchallenged employee is far more likely to leave a company than one who has clear goals to work towards. People love to feel like they are accomplishing something, so make sure that they have that opportunity.

Along with giving employees challenges, it is important to make sure that you are not setting unrealistic goals, as this could be discouraging and give them the feeling that they are working in vain.

Don’t let hard work go unnoticed

If your employees are working hard to reach certain goals, you must also be sure to reward that hard work or there will be no incentive for them to perform at the best of their abilities.

The obvious way to reward outstanding performances would be in the way of bonuses or pay raises, and these are certainly great motivators, although money is not the only way to reward employees.

Gift cards or holiday packages can also be good incentives, while a little healthy competition among employees can also be a fun way of boosting productivity for a time.

Always be sure to praise hard work publicly in front of other employees and make sure that everyone knows how their work is benefiting the company. Sharing future company goals enables people to feel more involved with the company.

About the author:

Patrick Del Rosario is a Filipino business and career ninja. He works at Open Colleges, one of the pioneers of Online education in Australia and one of the leading providers of Open Colleges Human resources courses and cert iv training and assessment. Aside from blogging and being a business ninja, Patrick is an aspiring photographer. If you want to feature his writings on your site, connect with him at Google+ or drop a line at patrick(at)

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