The annual Ceridian Pulse of Talent survey reports that small businesses, those with less than 100 employees, are faring better than larger organizations when it comes to overall employee engagement.

However, the survey indicates that more can be done to improve employee tenure, address salary concerns and refine communication. Survey respondents were interviewed regarding their perceptions of employee engagement and loyalty, recruiting, training, job security, compensation, productivity, workplace wellness and employer branding, among other topics.

Key findings amongst small businesses include

Small business employers provide an environment where employees feel more valued and recognized than larger organizations.

  • 42 per cent of small business employee respondents said they feel cared for, compared to 26 per cent who work for companies with 1,000 or more employees
  • 37 per cent of respondents said the company recognizes them for a job well done, compared to 26 per cent who work for companies with 1,000 or more employees

Small business employees are unlikely to stay in their current position for long. The employee has the desire to evolve their career with their current employer.

  • 69 per cent of small business employee respondents want to either do similar work but expand into different positions or explore different jobs
  • 23 per cent of small business employees have been at their current job for less than a year, compared to 13 per cent who work for companies with 1,000 or more employees

Small business employees are more concerned about their salary and benefits than employees who work for larger organizations.

  • 36 per cent of small business employee respondents consider their pay is good
  • 53 per cent say they would consider a new job or position outside of their company and admit the reason is they don’t believe they currently make a good salary
  • 22 per cent of small business employee respondents who would consider a new job or position outside of their company would look for a new job because they have inadequate benefits
  • 28 per cent of small business employee respondents say that their organization has a clearly defined compensation structure and policy

“Small businesses are making a concerted effort when it comes to employee engagement,” says Dave MacKay, president of Ceridian. “Yet, keeping employees engaged is not just about keeping them happy, it is also about challenging employees to grow and rewarding performance. If people are unsatisfied in their job because they are not motivated to learn new skills or do not feel that they are being fairly compensated for the good work that they’re doing, organizations can put themselves at risk of losing their top performers to the competition.”

Small businesses can retain and help keep employees engaged by encouraging career progression within the organization. Developing special projects and job rotation opportunities help meet the needs of those who want to remain within the organization, but are hungry for new challenges and assignments.

Alternative financial incentives, such as ownership plans and profit sharing, may be another way to add value for employees. Small businesses can also look into offering non-financial benefits such as additional paid days off, tickets to experiences, or access to technological resources. Previous Pulse of Talent surveys have indicated that when it comes to rewarding employees, employers need to remain flexible and open when considering various options that may be of value to their workforce.

“Overall, better communication around salary decisions, as well as monetary and non-monetary reward incentives and workplace benefits can help alleviate employee concerns regarding compensation levels. If employees feel as though they are being justly rewarded for performance, they will look for opportunities to grow within their current organization rather than elsewhere,” says MacKay.