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Motivated employees

“What benefits do employees want and need? It tends to vary through life. My advice would be to ask the employees, rather than introduce something that you think they might want.”

Recently I was asked for my top employee retention tips. Here they are…

Keeping the right people starts with getting recruitment right.

This is the first and one of the key messages in Jim Collins’ book “From Good To Great”. Bring in the right people, train, develop, interest, value and reward them – and they’ll stay. You do need to make the effort to find out about people and consult them about what presses their buttons, but it’s worth it to have a happy, productive team with a low staff turnover.

People want to know that they’re doing something worthwhile and making a genuine contribution.

When employees feel that their actions are adding valued and are valued, they identify with the business and develop a sense of belonging.

Create opportunities to enable employees to learn in new directions.

Not everyone will make it into senior management, but everyone can increase their skills. On job, off-job, secondments (including secondments to anther business), volunteering and mentorship all create valuable learning opportunities. I love the crazy 24 hour unfettered development activities that a number of technology companies go in for. They often say it’s the most productive 24 hours of the entire month. Recently one of the team asked me if she could get some experience of the charity sector. We work with several charities so I arranged for her to go and do some work shadowing. She had a hugely enjoyable time, was fascinated by the work they do. She also knows far better how they operate which will mean her advice is that much better.

Is your benefits package suitable?

This isn’t just about pay (though that has a place). What benefits do employees want and need? It tends to vary through life. My advice would be to ask the employees, rather than introduce something that you think they might want.

Good people like working with good people, so bring in the best people.

Have a sound business plan and introduce high business standards. You can tell such a lot about a business from the way it deals with concerns. Here are two cases in point. Recently we took an office key to Timpsons to cut. I should ‘fess up that I rate the whole Timpson business model and ethos highly and their staff are without exception very good. Although they usually are spot on, on this occasion, they couldn’t get it quite right. They gave me a refund and apology without question. On the other hand, at about the same time I had an experience with TalkTalk where they had created a problem and I had to wait on a maximum payment line for nearly an hour while they failed to address it. It was all a huge waste of time and money so I wrote to the CEO – but got a politely worded brush off. Who do you think gets my customer vote for the future? Excellence in work and service standards ensures good business and also builds a sense of pride in the team who then identify with what you’re doing and want to stay.

Today’s workers expect flexibility so try to make your workplace as flexible as you can

A bit of give and take works wonders.

Build appropriate relationships with your team.

My team are fairly young, so our hobbies and interests outside work don’t overlap a great deal, but we all take the time to have a bit of a chat about personal matters. We do occasionally do something social together too which helps to build bonds. You don’t have to become best buddies but a friendly approach will pay dividends.