You’ve put in the hard graft, you’ve attracted great investors, the value of your business is looking healthy and you’re expanding. Good news all round, then!
But did you know that as your organisation grows, you’re going to experience challenges? One of them is holding on to your staff. It’s vital to appreciate those people who’ve been there since the beginning. They are a huge asset to your business and are business allies who’ve been there through tough times.
When people know there’s a change coming but aren’t sure what’s going on, you can’t blame them for getting the jitters. Feelings of uncertainty could drive them to seek out a new job with a more stable employer. However, if you invest time to keep them happy and informed, their loyalty to you is much more likely to endure the bumpy growth-phase.
Sounds obvious, but if you’ve got a pot of business funding set aside for hiring new staff, why not put some of that money into developing a retention strategy for the people you already employ? There are loads of tactics you can use to engage employees – and engaged people stay longer and are generally happier, which boosts productivity.
Tell your people about your expansion plans well in advance of putting them into action. You can either give your managers the opportunity to talk directly to their own teams, or if you’re a smaller firm you can make announcements in person, following up with regular updates in staff meetings, by email or in your company newsletter.
Prevent workplace gossip, which can impact performance by the way, by telling anyone who is worried about their job security that they’re not at risk.
Also, share your long-term vision – it’s a leadership skill that unites people, and builds bonds.
Whatever your communication methods, be clear about your plans, and be reassuring if there’s a vibe of uncertainty.
Since you’re going through growth, why not involve employees in shaping the future business strategy? Ask for their input on your plans; it’s a brilliant way of gauging staff’s interest as well as their concerns.
But be aware: if you’re asking for people’s opinions, be ready to action them or you risk damaging their trust.
The workplace environment can either demotivate or inspire its occupants – we’re guessing you’d prefer the latter! If you’re moving premises, think about what your employees need, and cater to that.
Is it easy to get to or will your staff be put off by bad traffic? Is there plenty of free parking? Are there nearby places for people to go for lunch? All these seemingly basic things need to be considered.
If it’s an urban location, is the view inspiring or will you team be staring at more brick walls? Is the building insulated for chilly winter months, and well ventilated for summer weather? Does the office get plenty of natural light, which is known to boost energy?
Can you create a sense of belonging and identity by matching the décor with your brand? Are you using colours that suit your business?
According to Bupa, 85% of employees in the UK expect their bosses to support their health and well being. Not only that, but 63% say their health and well being is adversely effected by work. So, by helping people stay well, you show them that they’re valued and you get to lower the staff churn rate.
You’ll benefit too: there’ll be less sick leave, a rise in productivity, and morale will get re-boot. All are crucial factors if you want staff in fine fettle to cope with increased business.
Nothing says ‘we want you to help build our business’ like investing in your staff’s careers. Learning and development opportunities give people a reason to stay and prevent feelings of frustration; after all, a lack of career opportunities is a big factor causing people to quit. In a nutshell, as you grow, let your people grow too!
This advice is important for SMEs, regardless of your business’ life-stage. Keeping your people engaged is always a wise investment. The reason is simple: everyone wins.
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