Perhaps one of the biggest challenges of the down economy is keeping your workers happy. Although fewer places are hiring, those that are can dangle a mighty tempting carrot: Not only a job, but better and more competitive benefits since, as you've probably heard, people are increasingly being let go.
So how do you keep your most prized personnel happy?
Smallbiz1.com has an insightful piece on exactly this, and here's the interesting thing: "Whether you manage a small business or global corporation the same rules will apply when it comes to keeping your best employees."
Even though some of the advice is common sense ("identify the most important drivers for employee morale... happy employees generally good employees, just like happy and satisfied customers are loyal customers.") but if you're uneasy about this it never hurts to take stock of the obvious in the event you're overlooking or just forgot about a crucial area.
Raises are an easy way of improving morale, though it's akin to bribing your kid to behave when he sets off a cherry bomb in the guest bathroom: You're sending the message to disgruntled employees that bad behavior gets rewarded just like good behavior. So, there's no motivation for them to change their ways.
A better driver is implementing employee surveys that touch on their career paths overall. Ideally you'd be personally familiar with everyone at your company, but realistically that might not be possible. If you can accomplish this in a way that's personable, friendly, and entertaining, all the better: It's kinda impersonal to fill out a form telling your boss about who you are when they should already know.
Anyway, definitely something to consider. Check out the full piece here.