A business owner asked me this question last week. The business owner operates a successful gutter cleaning service but has trouble retaining employees. The business owner explained that due to the nature of the work, he has a high turnover rate and trouble attracting employees without "social issues". The owner explained "social issues" as dependency issues and criminal records.
The owner was losing money due to continual training costs and the impact that a "no show" would have on operations. The owner was looking for a way to hire and retain good employees.
The owner and I discussed several possible solutions. 1. Conduct lengthy interviews, 2. Set up a trial employment period, and 3. Investigate financial and non-financial incentives.
By expanding the interview process to include time on and off the job site (trial employment period), the owner will be able to determine the values and attitude of the employee. These factors are generally hidden during an initial interview process. The owner can learn over the course of a day if the potential employee will be a great long-term hire. If not, the owner can pay the person for the work performed and end the relationship.
While higher wages do not always guarantee top talent and may undercut profitability, the long-term investment will help the business. Additionally, the owner could look at non-financial incentives for employees. If the owner is viewed a a great boss, workers tend to stay. Who doesn't love "Hawaiian Shirt Friday"? Classic example of a bad non-financial incentive.
Check out the SBA's video series on hiring and the following blog: https://www.sba.gov/blogs/5-tips-hiring-and-empowering-great-employees