Staff Retention – looking after your employees

By Cassie Oliver

Many SMEs experience a high level of staff turnover, and it can be hard to keep good people in your business when other larger, more established companies are in a position to make them an offer they can’t refuse. So how can you make staff want to stay with you for the long term?

Money is the most obvious motivating factor, but that alone won’t keep people working for you year after year. Many successful businesses have comprehensive employee reward schemes that are costly to set up and maintain, and these will make all the difference, but for SMEs the answers can actually be a lot more simple. If you remember these 3 keys points you won’t go far wrong:

Deliver on Promises

  • Prioritise regular reviews and 1-2-1s so that your employees see how important their career development is to you.
  • Keep everyone in your business informed about developments. If things are looking bleak, they may have ideas that will help turn your business around. If things are going well, let them share in the success.
  • Make expectations clear, so everyone knows what they need to do.
  • Show progress towards milestones and targets, so each member of staff feels involved and encouraged to make a contribution.

Show you care

  • Find out what makes each individual member of your team tick. Are they introvert or extrovert? What do they enjoy doing in their spare time?
  • When you notice something good, thank the person responsible immediately and publicly. Recognition like this is priceless, and it’s important that you praise staff in public.
  • Reward long serviceCertificates for people who’ve been with you for 5 or 10 years are a nice touch, and lots of long-serving employees will proudly display these on their desks. Other options to consider are extra days of holiday, one-off bonuses or gifts. Why not let them choose?
  • Celebrate birthdays, marriages and births – just a small gesture like a card signed by everyone in the team is so nice to receive, and makes staff feel valued.

Give a bit extra

Keeping staff happy doesn’t have to break the bank! Here are some ideas of perks and rewards that will keep staff in any small business smiling:

  • Free Fruit – looking after health and wellbeing as well as appetites.
  • Weekly treat – you can celebrate with milkshakes on Friday, buy everyone a midweek coffee, or make Monday more bearable with a chocolate bar each.
  • Free tea and coffee – many small businesses offer employees free drinks while at work.
  • Team meal out – treat staff to lunch or dinner, it’s a good chance to catch-up out of the office.
  • Bring-your-own buffet – in the USA it’s a Pot Luck, in Yorkshire it’s a fuddle. Whatever you call it, it’s good to share.
  • Activities: a cinema trip, ice skating or go retro with laser tag or bowling – nothing builds a team like an occasional activity, the more competitive the better!
  • Free Parking – pay for someone’s parking for the week, or give them a priority space in your own car park.

What has worked for you? Tell us about the perks you offer people in your business.

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Source:: Staff Retention – looking after your employees