Finding employees who have the ideal skill set and the right attitude is hard enough. So when you have got them, you need to hang on to them.
In times of business development the risk of losing good personnel is at its highest. In a recent article for Director Magazine, Sheetal Gill said:
“When small businesses experience a period of rapid growth, most leaders tend to focus on the customer’s needs. This is the crucial stage of the company’s journey when they are at risk of losing their top talent to competitors.”
Agreeing, Brittain’s Managing Director Julia Haviland stresses the importance of keeping staff motivated.
“To ensure that employees perform at their very best, you need to keep them informed. If they don’t understand what the company’s key objectives are, or their part in achieving these, then they may find it difficult to see the bigger picture and become demotivated as a result. This detracts from job satisfaction and may prompt them to start looking elsewhere, potentially applying to, or even being poached by, one of your competitors.”
Engage, respect and reward: Brittain’s advice for retaining good employees during business growth
- Give your team members a sense of purpose and a collective direction. Make sure they understand your goals and, especially during times of business growth, that they feel as if their efforts and contributions are valued.
- Create a culture of being open to ideas. Ask staff for their input and, even if you can’t utilise all their suggestions, make it clear that they are welcome and that you will give each proposal due consideration.
- Keep an eye on work-life balance. If you can see that someone is overworked, acknowledge the situation and find a way to allow them to ease back. Employees who get overtired are vulnerable to sickness or even to throwing the towel in entirely. Replacing staff or finding temporary staff to cover sickness costs time and money, diluting your time and potentially compromising your standards.
- If an employee feels that their career is progressing and that they are being actively developed they are less likely to stray. Try to identify projects that will stretch individual team members and then support them through the process.
- Mark successes. Recognition and reward are essential to making staff feel valued. A personal thank you or a public acknowledgement in a team meeting – along with an appropriate bonus, treat or thoughtful gift – will be repaid with loyalty and renewed keenness.
“Positivity breeds positivity,” says Julia. “Lead from the front and make sure that your vision is clearly and enthusiastically communicated to your team. In staffing terms, this will bring you the best possible return on investment.”