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Motivate & retain your best staff

14.04.2014

Motivate & retain your best staff

How to keep employees happy, maintain productivity & hold on to your best staff.

Asked to pick one question every company should consider if they want to improve their business and Jonathan Rosenberg, adviser to Google management, chose: “Among your stronger employees, how many see themselves at the company in three years and how many would leave for a 10% raise?

Perhaps an unexpected choice given Rosenberg’s product background, but once again it underlines the importance one of the world’s most successful companies places on retaining the very best talent.

So how do you keep hold of your best staff?

Getting your recruitment right in the first place is of course essential, but no matter how well you hire, employees will always differ in ambition, intellect and attitude. It’s not until you see them working in your business that you can truly identify great staff; then it’s up to you to do everything you can to keep them.

  1. Lead by example
    Think about who inspires you. People listen to those they like and respect so work hard, keep high standards and help others. Strong leadership and communication will help you keep top employees on side.
     
  2. Have a clear vision
    Everybody needs a sense of purpose and a clearly defined direction will help rising stars understand what they are working towards; whether that’s building a business, helping others, achieving a goal or reaching the next stage of their career.
     
  3. Treat people individually
    Understanding what drives each person in your team is the only way you can paint a picture of the destination you want to reach in a way that allows them to visualise what success looks like and means to them personally.
     
  4. Empower
    If people understand the reason behind their actions and are allowed to make decisions they become more confident and autonomous. Combine that with encouraging ideas and discussion and you create an environment where employees are more engaged, productive and willing to go the extra mile.
     
  5. Nurture talent
    Talent is never a threat if the attitude of the people involved is right. The secret is to surround yourself with those you want to support and be successful, but who also want you to succeed.
     
  6. Develop a positive workplace
    The quality of your environment has a significant impact on your enjoyment level, so try to make yours fun. Be flexible, as in the modern workplace it’s much less about the business defining an individual and more about individuals defining the business.
     
  7. Build a great team
    A good mix of complementary skills and characteristics will make your team more likely to be able to grow together. To keep people engaged make sure everyone knows their role and what is expected. If your team is struggling to bond, try arranging an away day to get them working together in a fresh environment.
     
  8. Show them the opportunity
    Salary and bonuses are important, but its lack of personal development that’s the number one reason people move on. The best people have ambition and there is often opportunity for career progression where they are, it’s just not communicated until it’s too late. Your job is to help them see how they can move forward, keep them challenged and develop their career.
     
  9. Do something different
    The unexpected is always more appreciated, so why not give your staff a day off on their birthday, send them a card of thanks or let them leave early. Whatever you do, make sure it makes them feel good and they realise it’s because they are appreciated. It’s the little things that matter most and I lose count of the number of times I hear someone say: “I wouldn’t mind if I just got a little more back in return…”

Ultimately, if someone’s worth it find out what they want and see if you can give it to them, because if you’re prepared to be flexible it’s you who will benefit in the end.

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