We’ve all been there, a better job offer comes along; more money, a shorter commute and a shiny new company car enticing you into a new role. Whether you were looking or not (some say you’re always looking) the grass sometimes is greener on the other side.
So its a few years down the line and you now have a thriving business of your own… good job. But how do you keep your star employees from being poached by your competitor?
Working life is evolving and the next generation are possibly not as money conscious as we were, so a pay rise may not be enough to hold onto employees.
Put yourself in their shoes, what is important for job satisfaction?
Growth and Advancement – no I’m not just talking about a new job title. Senior staff will have worked very hard to get where they are and their growth strategy probably means they won’t stop until they reach the top (you didn’t). The only place for them is alongside you at the head of you business, or disaster strikes and they leave to start their own.
Action: Do you know where your employees want to be? What do they want to do? You may have a clear career path in your head, but it may not be inline with what’s in theirs.
For instance I knew that with no degree or experience I would never get a job in marketing. But I could get a job in a creative agency as admin, so I did and started life as an office manager. Six months later a new account executive was born and ten years later I’m a marketing director. How did I get here? I made sure that there was room to progress and I sure as hell made sure that my manager at the time knew what I wanted… it’s not arrogance, its ambition.
Dedication and loyalty
What makes employees loyal? I think the answer is simple: Contentment and happiness. If your staff are moaning and groaning by 9.30am and running out the door at 5.30pm, they may very well not be satisfied. This could be a multitude of things.
Action: find out what is lacking, how you can improve your working environment and culture.
Respect and acceptance
The human race has a pathological need for acceptance, does your company feel like a family, a team or are they bickering and not working effectively together?
Respect grows from the top down, not the bottom up. Show everyone from your board members to the cleaners respect and let’s get a little mushy here… some love. I’m not suggesting you start offering free hugs (there’s a law suit waiting to happen) but a smile and ‘how was your weekend’ will go a long way.
Action: Lead by example and show respect.
So that’s it really, you get out what you put in, here are a few pointers to summarise:
Listen – to needs and wants; it may be a company wide training scheme or a shiny new coffee machine
Inspire – encourage your staff to be the best they can be and spread your passion, be a mentor
Unleash potential – identify and give those that want to progress the tools and space to do so
Build a team – think carefully about how people work together and nurture relationships, mix things up and move people around if needs be
Recognise and appreciate – create awards, throw a party, give bonuses, say thank you
Build security and loyalty– share future business plans and make everyone part of achieving them
Remember that we spend most of our waking hours at work, no one wants to spend it being miserable. Yes we work to earn money, it’s a fact of life, but you may find that high wages come way down on the list of priorities for most people.
The time is now to build a strong business strategy for keeping those star staff members. But if you do loose someone that you really wanted to keep, don’t fret, the next best thing can always be poached by you!