How to keep hold of good staff

28 August 2012 -


The most valuable asset of any company is the people that make up its workforce. It is through their hard work and dedication that the business grows and prospers, and without committed staff the business will deteriorate over time. But what can you do to retain valuable staff in the current economic climate?

The battle for great staff has become amplified in the economic slump. Workers who are willing to do what it takes to make the company succeed through using their expertise to solve problems and find solutions that save time, money and effort are indispensible, and exceptionally hard to hold on to. For many SMEs it is difficult to match the incentives of larger corporations, but there are other ways to keep talent within your organisation. Employees are motivated by more than just an attractive salary or a beneficial package. These key strategies will help you retain crucial personnel.

Make the whole experience attractive

By understanding what your employees are looking for your chances of keeping hold of them will increase significantly. We spend a majority of our time at work, often in teams and offices, and studies have shown that the happiest employees work in organisations that offer the very best overall experience; from creating a good workplace culture, an open environment with healthy communication between management and staff, to offering a competitive salary. Remember that staff are looking to find a workplace they feel comfortable in. If they do not feel comfortable, they will look to move. Be honest with yourself. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are a decent manager to work for?
  • Are you fair minded?
  • Do you listen to your staff?
  • Do you welcome new ideas?

Remember that your employees are unlikely to offer you the answers to these questions, so you need to work them out for yourself.

Put yourself in their shoes

What employees look for extends way beyond economic benefits. One of the most crucial lessons managers must learn is to put themselves in the employee’s shoes and ask – under the current regime – would they themselves want to stay? By imagining yourself in your employee’s position, and you will see what other benefits you can offer your employees in terms of security and place for talent to grow.

Praise, reward, retain

Good communication and recognition is key. Set out clearly in the beginning what you expect from your employees and reward accordingly. Showing that you appreciate and value their work sends positive signals and a clear message to the whole workforce that talent is not left unnoticed. Feedback is potentially the most effective way to improve the performance of employees and their attitudes towards the company. Acknowledge achievements publicly, for example at staff meetings, to boost the individual employee’s morale, but also to motivate others.

Part of this is to offer motivational financial rewards in the form of pay increases and bonuses for outstanding performance.

But some rewards are real-cost free. Non-financial rewards that are valued by staff as rewards for good performance include:

  • Early Friday finishes
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • Home-working options
  • Chances to entertain clients or be entertained by suppliers

These techniques can act as major incentives that send strong messages that you value their contribution.

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