To run a successful business, investments are necessary. You invest money into having the best technology, and you invest time in ensuring you build and maintain solid business relationships — but have you made the same investments in your employees?
Richard Branson famously said: “customers come second, employees first”. Loyal staff is hard to find and even harder to lose, and the fact is, if you’re not investing in them, you’re not investing in the future of your business.
The cost of replacing employees can be double the price of their salaries (or more). To save your business the expense of losing their skills, in addition to recruiting and training new staff, it’s important to invest in the ones you’ve got.
As well as being an effective way of reducing turnover for your business, investing in employees is a vital part of creating an engaged workforce. Employees want to work for an organisation that promotes their growth, values their opinion and increases their employability, which is why quite often, they’ll look at reviews on Glassdoor and LinkedIn before applying for a new role. Show you’re a business that ticks both these boxes and chances are, you’ll attract strong candidates. Prove them wrong, however, and don’t expect much of a response — or commitment. After all, who would want to work with a company that treats its staff as disposable assets?
Research shows that 30 percent of new employees leave a job within the first 90 days, with many citing a lack of engagement as their reason for not sticking around. Beyond providing them with the necessary paperwork, making new staff feel welcome by introducing them to the wider team and ensuring they are comfortable with their responsibilities can make a huge difference. In your onboarding pack, aim to include a clear agenda for their first few weeks, as well as an overview of the business values, an insight into how they contribute to the business’s overall mission, and the chance to ask questions.
As we mentioned above, employees want to feel valued, and one way of ensuring they are is by listening to their contributions. Not only will you be promoting healthy and good communication, but you’ll also get fresh ideas and perspectives in the process. Consider the fact that every person on the planet has the potential to come up with the next million-pound idea and you’ll never be too busy to listen to your staff again. Take Starbucks, for example. In 2011, when one clever barista decided to write the names of customers on cups, it quickly got back to head office. Just months later, this 'first-name basis' approach became standard at all Starbucks stores. The company even produced a televised advert to promote its new personal approach.
Henry Ford put it best when he said: “The only thing worse than training your employees and having them leave is not training them and having them stay.” Adobe consistently ranks highly in best workplace surveys for its generous perks, but also for the way it challenges its employees. The software company is consistently finding new projects for its staff to work on, providing them with all the support they need to complete them. This is one of the traits that makes them such an innovative company that consistently delivers great products.
It sounds obvious when you say it, but it’s easy to forget that your employees’ performance directly impacts your success. While it’s good to challenge staff and keep them motivated to do their jobs, ask too much and risk burning them out. If you have employees who are consistently working overtime, ensure you reward them for their efforts, but also encourage them to take a break, and be flexible when they request time off for holidays.
A major reason for people feeling disconnected and disengaged at work is due to a lack of development in their role. Most of us have mundane parts in our jobs, but when you feel like you’re stagnating, or you’re heading towards a dead-end, chances are, you’ll look for opportunities elsewhere. Scheduling weekly — or at the very least, monthly — meetings with your employees is a great way to get their feedback and find out how they see themselves developing in their role. It may be that they want to move into management, for example. If so, think about how to equip them with the leadership skills they will require.
Want an easy way to keep staff happy and motivated without spending a fortune? Offering a good range of benefits ensures staff is rewarded for their efforts, whilst boosting morale. And as long as you ensure the benefits your business offers are tailored to your employees’ needs, they needn’t cost a fortune. Research by the financial advisor, Drewberry, found that taking a more flexible approach to working can have the biggest impact. Above all else, most employees value flexible working hours, private medical insurance, and working from home.
According to MetLife’s 2019 Employee Benefit Trends Study, 55 percent of participants said they “would be more interested in working for a company that offered health and wellness benefits”, with 53 percent saying they “would be more loyal to a company” as a result. One way to foster a healthier work environment is to introduce a points system for healthy choices, such as long-distance lunchtime walks. You could also trade biscuits for fruit at the next company meeting, or even offer a discount to the local gym as one of your company perks.
Starting a new job can be daunting, particularly when meeting so many new faces. As part of employee inductions, consider pairing new starts with more seasoned employees. In addition to providing a good opportunity for them to learn from someone else in the company, you’re also ensuring they know at least one friendly face. This doesn’t just have to be something you do for new starts either — encouraging hot desking can be a good way for existing staff to build new relationships with colleagues they don’t already know.
If you want your best employees to stick around, you’re going to have to compensate them fairly. If you’re a start-up, you may be limited in terms of what you can afford in the first stage of your business journey, but you should make this clear when listing the job, and you should aim to reevaluate pay at least once a year. It’s also worth bearing in mind that compensation includes more than just pay. If you can’t afford to give everyone a pay rise, consider implementing benefits such as extra paid time off, or more flexible work options like we mentioned above.
Give your team the chance to grow by offering plenty of opportunities for training. As well as being one of the most effective ways you can show your employees that you are invested in your workforce, by offering training, you are also strengthening the quality of staff that you have, making it a mutually beneficial investment. What’s more, offering training opportunities can be used as a recruitment tool to attract top talent and can boost employee satisfaction.
by Emma Gibbins | 22 Feb 21
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