Your staff is your greatest asset and your best resource. 

Hiring skilled workers is only half the solution. Once you hire them, you’ve got to retain them. Here’s how.

1. Know your people

One of the simplest but most effective actions you can take as an employer is to get to know your staff members. They spend a significant portion of their lives working for your business, and they are each unique and have their own lives, passions, and interests. 

Take the time to chat and get to know them. Understand what motivates them, what their goals are, and where their special skills lie. Knowing these things will enable you to make decisions that encourage them to continue working with you. 

Taking an interest in your employees shows them they’re valued.

If you learn about their backgrounds and abilities, you might also reveal a wealth of knowledge and expertise that could be useful to your company. Employees feel undervalued if their skills aren’t used, and they may have hidden specialties you aren’t aware of.   

  1. Provide transparency

If you haven’t done so, give each employee a detailed job description outlining their responsibilities, tasks, and targets. This way, they know how they’ll be evaluated for their work. Also, if a reward is linked to each goal, make sure they know about it.

Now that they know where they stand, it’s up to you to maintain the goals and limits you’ve set. If these metrics change:

  • Discuss your new guidelines with each employee
  • Provide an updated job description so their new responsibilities and targets are clear and on record
  • Consider financial, title, or benefit boosts if they’re going to take on a greater load

3. Offer growth opportunities

One of the common characteristics of motivated employees is a focus on professional growth and building a career.

Not all small trade businesses can accommodate careers, but you can give your employees opportunities to add to their CVs. This might mean letting them take charge of projects, allowing them to lead a small team, or sending them to an industry conference. 

4. Use incentives

What appeals to one staff member may not appeal to another, so having a standard benefits package won’t necessarily prove competitive. Instead, survey your employees regularly to find out what they want, and make sure you act quickly on your findings. As lifestyle trends and economic factors change, the things your employees find motivating might change. So be prepared to be flexible. 

Among the incentives you can use:

  • Increased pay or financial bonuses
  • Flexible work weeks or additional days off
  • Flexible hours
  • Additional benefits, such as medical care
  • More paid time off in a year
  • A social event, such as a staff dinner

5. Be transparent

Business owners often want to shield employees from reality if hard times are ahead, but that can easily backfire.

Hearing nothing about your employer’s viability is often worse than hearing bad news. It can also send the message that employees aren’t valued because they’re being kept in the dark.

If there are challenges ahead, employees will want to know what they are. So detail the hurdles and involve staff in how they and your business will overcome them together.

The more transparent you are, the more employees will trust you. 

6. Ask for feedback

You research your markets and competitors, so why not get feedback from your employees? Set up a pressure-free system for gathering feedback – preferably anonymously. Make it clear your door is open so employees can bring up any issues.

You may be surprised to find out what influences your employees’ day-to-day working happiness. Even tiny changes – such as changing the brand of instant coffee in the staff room – can have a big impact.

7. Engage and excite your staff members

Communicate your passion for your business to your employees and tell them about its potential so it becomes a project they feel great about contributing towards. This can have a positive effect on customer service, and it can help create a more emotional connection to their part in your business.

Team-building opportunities aren’t only for getting staff to work more cohesively – they’re also a great way for everyone to have fun. In addition, having regular social events can have a positive impact on staff retention rates.

8. Provide tools and training

Asking someone to carry out a role without the proper training or tools contributes to a feeling of working in an unfair and inconsistent workplace, so make sure your staff are coached and supported sufficiently.

Equally, employers must give staff adequate resources to complete their duties – and leeway when those resources might be temporarily unavailable.

Final thoughts

It may seem there’s a lot to remember when it comes to keeping your team happy, but that’s because their happiness is crucial to your success. It’s a big job because they do a big job for you – they dedicate hours every day to supporting your business. Show them how much you appreciate it by treating them well, and you will find that you enjoy a high retention rate that’s good for them and your business.