Sometimes staff turnover is inevitable, but there are certain things you can do to enhance your chances of holding onto your top talent.
You could have a team of robots working for you, turning up each morning, punching their timecards and churning out a day’s work. Or you could have a team of empowered people who arrive with purpose; who understand the principles that drive the company, and who recognise both the tangible, and the intangible benefits of doing a great job. If you’d rather have the latter, share your vision and goals with your staff. By helping them understand what you do and why you do it you’ll give real meaning to the work they do.
Learning is a lifetime undertaking, and the more you do the more receptive you become to it. It’s important to invest in the ongoing education of your staff, helping them to grow and develop their skills. Ask them what they’d like to learn, and what areas of the business/industry they’re interested in exploring. Set aside time for them to research new ideas, or support them through courses and programs that will expand their knowledge. Not only will the new skills they learn directly benefit your business, you’ll also find yourself surrounded by a team of thinkers, a group of people who actively seek out innovative concepts and groundbreaking ideas.
Ask for candid feedback, take it on board, and respond proactively. The more you foster an open forum with the ‘troops on the ground’ the more likely you’ll be to hear of simmering problems before they become major issues. You don’t have to react to every query and implement every suggestion, but you do need to welcome the thoughts of your team. If they believe they have the opportunity to help shape the internal direction of the company they’ll be much more invested in the business, and hence more likely to stay.
Provide a career path.
If you want your staff to view your business as a long-term proposition, you need to show them a genuine career path. You want your employees to be driven; to produce exceptional work and aspire to achieve things within your organisation. The alternative is a worker who clocks in for 40 hours a week, puts in an acceptable showing without setting the world alight, and then switches off for the weekend.
Recognise outstanding work.
No one likes feeling underappreciated, particularly when they’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty. Make sure you recognise and reward great work; not just the obvious things like landing a major client, but the extra efforts, the innovative thinking, and the displays of initiative.
Trust in your team.
You’ve hired the right people – now give them the leeway to execute their roles as well as they possibly can. If you empower your team with responsibility you’ll earn their loyalty – if they believe you trust them they’ll feel valued, and will be compelled to live up to your expectations.
Pay them what they’re worth.
This might seem obvious, but if you scrimp on the wages you pay you’ll end up losing your valued staff. Workers who are underpaid quickly become resentful, whereas those who are well-compensated invariably worked harder, confident in the knowledge their efforts will be fairly rewarded.
Of course we want our staff to work hard. But there’s a big difference between having staff who are busy, and staff who are constantly snowed-under and daunted by the relentless volume of work starring them in the face every Monday morning. Employees who are constantly over-worked will eventually either break mentally, or start putting in a sub-standard performance. Biting the bullet and hiring more staff to handle increased workflow will allow your team to concentrate on doing a great job on every project they work on.
It’s important to remember what a valuable asset your people are. You can have the best products or the most unique ideas, but if you haven’t got people you trust who can make those products and implement those ideas you haven’t got a business. So spend a little time looking after your employees and reap the long-term rewards.