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Employee Retention a Concern for Nevada Businesses

There is good news for Nevada business owners. The economy is improving. More jobs are available. Economic development is a major initiative in Northern Nevada. And, unemployment levels are dropping.

The unemployment rate in Nevada was 6.7 percent for September 2015 — unemployment has not been this low since July 2008! This is a seven-year low and it’s trending about a point lower in Northern Nevada.

Meanwhile, the number of employers continues to grow.

The combination of a lower unemployment rate and increased number of jobs means employers now need to focus on retaining employees. As opportunities abound, employees are enticed to leave. High turnover rates aren’t good for business — one employee turning over can cost a company close to $50,000 in recruiting, training and lost productivity costs.

What Can Be Done to Retain Employees?

To adequately plan for Nevada’s 2.5- to 3-percent projected annual growth (forecast by The Center for Regional Studies, UNR), employee pay and ancillary benefits will likely need to increase for your company to remain competitive. Consider payroll increases of 6 percent to cover cost-of-living and merit increases, and to keep your pay scale up-to-speed with employee pay trends.

So, raising pay rates must be done, but what else can employers do to contribute to employee retention?

Begin to gather intel about what your employees want. Some of these improvements can easily be accomplished and are employee boosters you may not consider.

Ask employees what they value at work. Give your employees a list and ask them to rank what is most valuable to them. Some ideas include transparent communication (ask what they want to know), how they want to be recognized, learning and development opportunities, advancement opportunities, comfort during work hours, bonus rewards, benefits, and relationships with managers, coworkers, and customers.

Would ergonomic changes be desirable? Does providing snacks make a difference? Or offering more flexible hours? Perhaps, you can beef up benefits coverage or add new benefits?

There are so many considerations; but start incrementally. Be sure your compensation changes fit government regulations and update your company policies and handbook to cover relevant changes.

Remember, as the number of employees in your company changes, regulations for your company can change, as well. It’s also important to ensure that new benefits or perks are sustainable long term – taking away benefits or pay can be devastating to employee morale.

This is the time to dismiss employees who don’t contribute to your company’s success. Make a plan and determine who should be on your team to maximize your growth during this exciting time of explosive economic development.

Take steps now to be ready for the continued changes that Northern Nevada will continue to experience.

This article first appeared in the Reno Gazette Journal on December 6, 2016.

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