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How To Retain Staff and Nurture Valuable Talent


In today’s competitive employment market, it’s critical to take the time to develop solid and effective staff retention strategies for your business.

The most pro-active employers understand that there is no one size fits all strategy. Each employee will have specific key motivators which affect the outcome of their performance, and ultimately, their longevity with the company.

While salary will always be an important factor in retaining staff, there has been a significant shift in recent times towards employees seeking a good work-life balance and making a social impact in their world.

This, together with the recent challenges and disruption caused by Covid-19, has prioritised the requirement of business to identify and implement new and improved workplace operations to allow staff to develop and thrive, both individually and as a team. Doing so will significantly influence the retention of your top performers and create a good working environment for the whole workforce.

Here are 8 tips to help keep your employees engaged, motivated and loyal:

1. Give your staff the freedom to excel

There is potential to be found in almost every employee. In many cases, employees will naturally gravitate towards their personal areas of interest and expertise. It’s important to identify skills and experience from the start while actively encouraging your staff to expand their skills, learn and grow. Identifying their key strengths and nurturing their development will create high-value employees.

Tasks should be clearly articulated with defined and relevant outcomes. Where appropriate, offer ideas and guidance but don’t dictate the method. You should encourage questions, share ideas, and support a collaborative approach at every stage. Resist the urge to micro-manage an employees’ performance. Allow them the freedom to develop in their role and harness their natural skill set. Let your employees do what they do best and ensure that any criticism is constructive and supported by relevant examples.

This affirmative approach will motivate them further to create a strong sense of trust and loyalty. With the right support and encouragement, you will be amazed at the new ideas and improved ways of doing things they can bring to your business.

2. Support your employees with solid leadership

The employer-employee relationship is a critical factor in the overall satisfaction level in the workplace. Lead by example, show: trust, resilience, loyalty, fairness, honesty, collaboration and encouragement. Share your experiences as a business owner – warts and all, but always with respect for others.

Set clear goals and achievable outcomes. Keep your expectations clear and concise, and always be available for open and honest communication. Offer feedback and encourage your staff to offer their suggestions and ideas. This will ensure everyone feels validated in what they can offer to their workplace.

Remember to continually self-assess your own actions within the company and monitor whether you are helping to create a positive work environment.

3. Challenge your employees in a positive manner

Providing opportunities for advancement is crucial to retaining your top performers. High achievers tend to seek self-improvement, so it’s important to provide continual training and development to keep their skills polished and relevant in today’s ever-evolving job requirements.

Providing professional development opportunities will keep your staff motivated and engaged. Training can take many forms; self-directed reading and research, hosted lunch ‘n learn sessions, peer support, online or formal training courses, tertiary courses, webinars, seminars – the list goes on. There is always something for everyone.

Challenge your staff with new responsibilities and allow them to take charge where they can, even before they are quite ready. This will let them learn through new experiences to strengthen their motivation and resolve to perform well consistently. Most importantly, let them fail and learn from their mistakes. This does not mean setting them up to fail but rather challenging them to extend their skills, stretch their boundaries and continue to learn.

Allowing your staff to grow with you and your business will ensure they are primed for the future, happily engaged and less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere.

4. Aim to offer more flexible work

Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash

A reasonable work-life balance is a key factor in how happy employees are in their job. These days more and more are gravitating towards the idea of a healthy balance between work and life for their general wellbeing.

Candidates also appreciate the opportunity to work from anywhere, at any time. Offering flexible work conditions such as hybrid or flexible hours and remote work is also very attractive to employees and will help secure some of your best, most talented staff. Fortunately, today’s technology allows this to be done efficiently and at minimal extra cost to employers.

5. Use criticism constructively

Take feedback from your staff seriously and avoid being dismissive or defensive. Employees can offer fresh insights based on their area of expertise, so it’s important to be open and genuinely consider their opinions. A different perspective can be very insightful in determining how a business is running.

Encourage positive criticism and take the time to survey your staff about improving processes. Show your appreciation of their feedback and that you take it seriously by enacting their suggestions where appropriate.

That’s not to say that all criticisms will be valid, as employees don’t have the same vantage point of business operations as you do, but this can be discussed in a positive, transparent and non-patronising way.

6. Build a positive and healthy work culture

Positive work culture is critical in any modern workplace. Businesses should aim to create a healthy environment by allowing open dialogue and the ease to share ideas between all levels and areas of employment.

Creating solid structures which cater to employee recognition, team development, and general wellbeing are also crucial for a work environment that feels safe, secure, and welcoming.

Negative behaviour such as sexism, racism, bullying and any form of discrimination or abuse should never be tolerated. As the employer, you are responsible for providing a safe workplace for all your staff.

Building a positive, respectful work culture will attract and retain the best quality staff.

7. Meaning and Purpose

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

Today’s employees are acutely aware of the importance of social justice issues, not only for themselves but for the broader community across the globe.

Millennials, in particular, will gravitate towards companies that maintain and continually improve upon effective social justice policies such as zero tolerance of discrimination and choosing to partner with ethically responsible companies.

Similarly, eco-sustainable policies, or lack thereof, can be a deal-breaker with potential candidates. Those who are aware of the importance of contributing to a safe and sustainable environment will actively seek employment with companies who can demonstrate this in their day-to-day operations, as well as in their future planning. The lesson here is that companies must provide meaningful engagement with social justice and create eco-sustainable policies.

If you’d like some help developing company policies around social justice and creating positive environmental impacts, take a look at our Beyond Numble – Making an impact webpage.

8. Have some fun

Allow for some fun alongside work duties. We all need to take a break from work and have some fun occasionally.

Enjoying some entertaining non-work activities can help you get to know (and understand) your staff better, bond your team, de-stress and relax, especially after periods of intense work deadlines. There are lots of ways to inject fun into the workplace both during and outside work hours; a few examples are football leagues, trivia, bowling, karaoke.

Managing employees has well and truly evolved beyond the traditional concept of the company hierarchy. Working alongside your team and ensuring well-considered processes are put in place instead of just dictating tasks will grant your team the chance to flourish in their own space within the company.

Be sure to share your vision of how the company will grow with your staff and show them why they should care about its success. This inclusivity will create a powerful and collaborative framework that will lead to solid staff retention and long-term business success.

Want to read more insightful, business related posts? Check out all the posts and articles on Numble’s blog page.