29/09/2011

By Guy Rigby, Director & Head of Entrepreneurs, Smith & Williamson

If you think finding the right people is demanding, then holding on to them can be even more challenging. Keeping your good people is essential — it reduces the disruption and costs associated with staff turnover and provides the foundations on which to build your future business.

It’s the actions and attitudes of your people that will really make a difference to your success. When people feel valued and secure, they’re more creative and innovative, so you should do everything you can to create and maintain this happy state. It will add value to your business — for employees, customers and shareholders alike.

Creating a ‘total reward’ strategy which is aligned with your business culture, vision and strategy should therefore be seen as an investment, rather than an expense. You can unlock and develop potential by having an energising environment that fosters teamwork and learning, while encouraging ideas and innovation. You will motivate people if you give them the right incentives and understand what makes them tick.

Creating the right environment

The workplace environment needs to be enjoyable and energised — a mixture of challenge and fun; not a place where people sit slumped at their desks, bored or frustrated, but a place where people can be inspired and valued and, crucially, can express their views on the business and get a fair hearing.

Some businesses achieve a pleasant atmosphere with design, others by creating workplace activities or celebrations. While upbeat surroundings and activities encourage creativity, productivity and loyalty, having a laugh can also encourage staff retention. Simple ideas such as closing early on a Friday or going to the pub now and again can be a real morale booster. And don’t forget to celebrate successes.

It’s a team game

Successful entrepreneurs are open and receptive to good ideas, rather than closed and controlling. They encourage and embrace innovation by fostering an environment of inclusion, making employees feel comfortable about contributing ideas. This gives employees a sense of shared ownership in decision-making and, ultimately, in the vision and direction of the business.

Valuing the input of individuals from every level in an organisation can have significant positive effects on growing businesses. Apart from uncovering opportunities, it will create an energetic and positive atmosphere which engenders loyalty. Loyalty means lower staff turnover and better results.

Management style

If people are going to stay, it’s critical that they enjoy working in your business. Management style is, therefore, a key factor in the creation of a positive working environment. In order to get the best from your staff, you need to manage them in the right way.

High staff turnover and absence are generally signs that management styles or practices need to be reviewed. If this is a problem in your business, look at the facts to establish what’s happening and address the findings to minimise damage or disruption.

Work-life balance

While hard work, dedication and persistence are the cornerstones of success, a tired, stressed or burnt-out workforce is counter-productive. Remind staff of the importance of a good work-life balance. Be supportive and consider the possibility of home or flexible working to ease pressures and ensure that regular holidays are taken.

Managing change

And last but not least, how change is managed is crucial to the well-being of your business. Staff shouldn’t merely be kept informed — they should be empowered and included, contributing to and participating in any changes and becoming champions of your vision and goals.


If you would like to discuss how we can help you create a strategy for retaining your staff, speak to Guy Rigby on 020 7131 8213 or email guy.rigby@smith.williamson.co.uk

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Watch the video below featuring Hugh Margesson of Smith & Williamson on how best to reward your staff.

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