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SMALL BUSINESS Q&A

How to keep valued employees from leaving

Businesses can avoid turnover by showing workers their efforts are appreciated and by providing training so they can move up the ladder. Also, what papers are needed to sell a business?

March 21, 2011|By Karen E. Klein

Dear Karen: How do I keep my most productive employees from pursuing other jobs?

Answer: As employment picks up, small companies often see high turnover. Surveys show 54% of U.S. employees want to look for new jobs when the economy improves, said Kevin Sheridan, chief engagement officer of HR Solutions International Inc. in Chicago.

"Don't be complacent; find out what's making your people disengaged and what can be done to retain them," Sheridan said.

His research shows that recognition, career development and relationships with managers are key factors. Let employees know their efforts are appreciated. Provide training so they can move up the ladder and make sure they feel good about the person they report to, he said.

Then there's what Sheridan calls the "unsung hero of retention": Fun and employee engagement. "Play charades, get to know each other, have a pizza party," he said.

Dear Karen: I'm ready to sell my business. What papers do I need?

Answer: You'll need your last three years of company tax returns, balance sheets and profit-and-loss statements. Determine what equipment and other assets, including intellectual property assets, will be included in the sale and list them, along with purchase prices and approximate current values.

If your business owns or leases property, gather that paperwork along with your loan documents, licenses, contracts and other agreements. A business broker will also want to see agreements relating to your employee benefits and environmental reports.

Small business questions? E-mail Karen at smallbiz@latimes.com

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