9 ways to retain your staff as your business grows
You’ve put in the hard graft, you’ve attracted great investors, the value of your business is looking healthy and you’re expanding. Great news!
But of course, you know as your business grows, you're going to face challenges. A key one being that it can be difficult to hold on to your staff.
The people who have been there from since the beginning are a huge asset to your business, they are business allies who know how to handle the tough times, so you need to make sure you show them the appreciation they deserve.
When people know there’s a change coming but aren’t sure what’s going on, you can’t blame them for being apprehensive. Feelings of uncertainty could drive your employees 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.
Steps to retain your employee in your growing business:
1. Invest in staff retention
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? Tactics you can use to engage employees include introducing an employee benefits scheme, rewarding and recognising hard work, treating your employees to away day – anything to show them how much you care and appreciate their work. Overall, engaged employees stay longer and are generally happier, which boosts productivity.
2. Communicate the changes
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.
3. Ask for input
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.
4. Focus on employee engagement
As your business is changing, you need to ensure that your employees are still engaged. Find out how engaged your existing employees are to your business. You can conduct employee engagement surveys to find out how your people feel about different elements of your business and how they impact them at work. Do they feel like they are a vital cog in the machine of the business or are they starting to feel irrelevant as the business grows?
When you place a priority on employee engagement, you can ensure that everyone in the business understands exactly how their role impacts the business and contributes to overall business goals.
Reward and recognise achievements, encourage career development and introduce learning and training opportunities. This keeps employees engaged and aligned with business goals.
4. Find perfect premises
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.
Do your people want to be in the city centre or would something on the outskirts suit them better? Do you need ample parking spaces or would your employees want to be next to a gym? Try to think about their requirements so your upscaling doesn't make your employees want to up and leave.
5. Treat everyone equally
Equality is important, particularly in regards to retention.
Unfortunately, it's all too common for favoritism to occur in the workplace and when managers are giving more attention or spending more time with a certain employee, even intentionally, it can drive others away.
It's vital to ensure all employees are treated equally – a good way to do this is for managers to regularly check-in with their entire team. One-to-ones with each employee help to keep managers up to date with what each team member is working on and how they are feeling. By giving individuals their own time, it helps to stop anyone feeling that they are not getting as much time as another.
6. Invest in learning and development
A common reason for employees to leave a company is that they feel they have got everything they can out of the job or feel that there is no room for development.
By investing in Learning and Development, you can not only help your employees to learn new skills and knowledge which helps them to make important steps in their career journey – you also improve your business and the quality of your products/services too.
There are many options for learning and development, including sending your staff to conferences or training sessions, investing in e-learning or providing a budget so they can choose their own methods. Whichever you choose, your staff will feel valued and your business will benefit as a result.
7. Work on wellbeing
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.
8. Offer opportunities
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.
9. Be prepared for turnover
At the end of the day, unfortunately, turnover is sometimes inevitable. You always have to be prepared to lose your star talent – if their dream job turns up, you should support them and thank them for their time. Always be respectful and treat your employees fairly, even when they want to move on.
Extra tips for retaining your staff:
Retention starts with recruitment
Retention starts from the very first moment you interview a candidate. During the hiring process, look out for clues about whether an employee is looking to stick around for the long run. Identify key aspects of your company's culture and values and search for potential employees who align with these. You can also look at how long they stayed in previous jobs, and if they stayed through the ups and downs.
This may take longer during the hiring process, but it will ensure your new employees are in it for the long run.
Effective onboarding is important
First impressions count, right? It's vital that new hires get a positive feeling from the company right from the start. If employees get off on the wrong foot with their manager or team and don't feel that they are being given respect, it's unlikely that they will stick around too long.
An effective onboarding process should include a thorough introduction to the company, an introduction to each team member, a team lunch so that employees can get to know each other on a less formal level and if possible, an introduction to the CEO and senior leaders.
This helps the employee to be integrated as quickly as possible, so they feel connected and committed to the company.
Develop good managers
It's likely that you have heard the phrase "people don't leave companies, they leave managers" – and it's true. Managers can make an extremely important impact on the employee experience and if a company doesn't develop good managers, this can be a negative impact.
Managers need to receive proper training and guidance on communication and leadership. They have a huge role in meeting employees' needs so make sure they are prepared.