You know when you’ve got a good member of staff. They are productive, live the business vision, get along well with other employees, are well respected, and show initiative and drive. Moreover, they can still be themselves. It’s therefore even more critical for a small business to hold onto a high performing and trusted employee as these members of staff represent the cornerstone through which success is attained. Here's a few tips on how to retain good staff.
Bearing these qualities and reality in mind, here are several practical strategies which allow you to ensure good staff stick around for the long term:
Set clear standards for performance
Once the novelty of a new job has worn off it’s often easy to get complacent about what is expected from an employee. The surest way to identify what job ‘grade’ needs to be met is to set out the role and responsibilities against a job definition and key performance indicators. That way it’s possible to monitor progress, address misgivings, and results parameters within a defined scope of behaviours and continued train of achievement. It will also mean that good staff understand exactly what ‘success’ looks like for them within the company.
Coach whenever possible
Often certain members of staff will be highly skilled in certain tasks and processes. With time comes experience and knowledge. A manager, or skilled member of staff, can strengthen the chain of organisational skill abilities by coaching others, and provide the right feedback until the desired skill level required is reached. Coaching is very effective management tool to make sure good staff do things the ‘right way’ in a particular work environment, increase motivation, and creates a positive culture of recognisable achievement.
Offer extra training
Sometimes good staff find that they 'hit' a professional development 'wall'. They need fresh challenges, insights, and strategies to continue to excel. One way to get over this perception is to provide ongoing training to unlock their full potential. This way good staff become even better and more valuable, and more established within the industry. It’s worth setting aside budget and time to deliver training either in form of informal internal 1-2-1 sessions, regular office workshops, specialist ‘off site’ training days, paid educational or skill-focused courses, or more long-term specialist academic courses.
Conduct regular appraisals which feature career development goals
Staff use their gifts and talents to bring about business change. Yet, many harbour their own career goals. These aspirations can be considered and managed through structured appraisals. An appraisal every three or six months enables both your business and their personal objectives to be discussed and forged, which makes for a more happy and stronger performing staff member.
Offer a rewards system that meets their talents and needs
Rewards are what you thank staff with in return for their hard labour. It’s important to tailor rewards in line with the type of job and skill-set which a member of staff is doing, or in relation to the length of service and results. Rewards can function on a sliding scale. A valued temporary staffer can be rewarded with luncheon and department store vouchers, in addition to their pay. A mid-tier established staff member can expect to receive pay, benefits, and there may be a bonus scheme and flexible family-focused discounts associated. For those who perform critical, and highly specialist jobs it’s worth keeping them incentivised. Rewards for senior staff members may also include stock options, share of equity share, big bonuses, and a range of unique sweeteners.
Perks make all the difference
For some staff having free tea, coffee, biscuits and orange juice is the way to their hearts. For good workers who are parents the option of an on-site crèche or flexible home or work hours can be the perk which makes the real difference. There are those who may appreciate being given a preferential car parking bay. Mums just back from maternity leave could appreciate working from home to ease the pressure and indicate a family-friendly firm. And, everyone loves to receive a surprise voucher or bottle of bubbly for hard work at the end of the quarter. It’s those little perks you give which send the message of ‘thanks, we appreciate you’, which really show you care, and provide the lever for extra staff motivation.
Introduce new staff quickly and positively
It’s daunting for anyone to start a new job. For the hirer there are high expectations following the drawn-out recruitment process. It's also a test of their good judgement. For the 'newbie' there’s the sense of walking into the unknown, into a new career life. HR can help to lower the stress for all parties by making sure that a new member of staff is properly onboarded. They can automate and fast-track PAYE and confidential personnel documentation; send out introductory starter emails; provide new starter packs to allow for easy orientation; make sure the line manager is supportive, introduces a new staffer to other critical team members; and finds a helpful work ‘buddy’. An administrator can also organise for the newbie to speak about themselves in the regular company meeting. This way a new member is more likely to stick around, showcase their skills quickly, and integrate smoothly to deliver long service.
Foster regular and open communications
People love to feel part of the tribe, and they love to talk. Therefore it’s wise to set up regular internal communications which broadcast company successes and goals, and keep the organisational vision alive. Management can take the time to express company achievements, and seek regular feedback from staff in public and through staff meetings. This gives the impression that the company is open and honest. It also exemplifies that managers are really committed to promoting good staff, improving company practices, safeguarding quality work, and building reputation over time.