Ten ways to retain great employees

Plant, machinery and vehicles are all important, but when it comes to key assets, nothing beats having great staff who allow your business to operate at its peak. Here's how to retain them.

Hiring great staff is one thing, keeping them is another. Remember, whether an employee is actively job hunting or not, you're always in competition with other businesses in your industry for their time and expertise.

Here are 10 things you can do to increase the chances of retaining your workplace stars.

There's never a one-size-fits-all solution to retention. While one employee may value career training, another may value more workplace flexibility. The point is, not everyone thinks the same or even maintains the same wants and needs over a year or six months - so it's well worth surveying staff regularly to find out what makes them tick.

It's incredibly important to make sure your staff know you value them for more than their skills. Stop and chat with them each week rather than waiting for official one-on-one performance reviews in your office. Ask them about their day and what's happening in their world. It doesn't cost anything but time to break down the barriers.

If you're known for moving the goalposts and making things up on the fly, stop and think about the impact this is having on your workforce and staff turnover. The more inconsistent a workplace is, the harder it is for employees to self-measure and feel any sense of achievement.

Professional development
Most people have career goals, yet many employers assume their staff are only motivated by money or perks. Talk to your staff, find out what their game plans are. It's worth your time and money helping them professionally develop because they're more likely to stay with an employer who provides opportunities for growth.

Make sure your employees aren't working in an information vacuum. Even if things aren't going well, tell your staff and involve them. This will show them how valued they are and give them a sense of self determination. By outlining goals and showing leadership, you're also much more likely to retain them and hit your targets at the same time.

Quick recognition
Many managers are quick to spot mistakes but slow to recognise success. Don't be one of them. Make sure you reward success quickly, even if it's just with a handshake or a quick acknowledgement.

Open door policies
If employees think you're not going to genuinely listen to any feedback, they'll start looking for another job pretty quickly. Have an open door policy that encourages communication, and do more than just pay lip service to it by listening to what's being said. Keep their feedback on file and schedule follow-ups to resolve issues or develop ideas.

This one's simple. Make work meaningful. This doesn't have to be elaborate, just communicate your passion for your business and demonstrate to employees the important roles they play in making the business what it is. Make them feel like you do - like they're contributing to something great.

Time and tools
There are three elements that allow people to work to their best: skills, time and the proper tools to do the job. Unfortunately, many employees aren't given the last two. This doesn't mean buying the latest cutting-edge equipment, but just making sure the business is appropriately resourced and organised efficiently enough to let its staff do what they do best.

And last but not least are your managers. You can be the best boss in the world and still lose staff hand over fist if your managers aren't doing their jobs. Build specific requirements into contracts for your managers to coach staff and give constructive feedback, so there are no assumptions left on the table about the leadership they're expected to provide. However, you also have to set the example. You have to make sure you're providing leadership to your managers too. If you don't know where to start with this, consider leadership training.

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