Working smart: Five ways to keep your staff loyal

Staff turnover can be a real problem for SMEs if it gets out of hand: so here are five ways to ensure your staff stick around for at least a little longer.

1. Reward

It’s important that you give valuable staff compelling reasons to work for you rather than someone else.

The best route is to pay people well. Our own research has shown that our staff are happier and more motivated when they are being paid their market worth.

So far, so obvious. In addition to fair remuneration, you should also be offering professional development. This opportunity to improve should be open to all ages, at all levels. It’s a good idea to work collaboratively with employees to decide on what form this development should take.

A knee-jerk reaction is often to suggest an expensive external course. Which, in reality, often offers little that can be applied to your business day-to-day. Instead, look within. Often the best training is provided in-house, through exposing staff to a broader range of aspects of the business or through mentoring.  

This professional development then opens the door to creating a workforce happy to spend their entire career in one company.

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You are providing them with the scope to try their hand at all the experiences they may desire, without ever having to go elsewhere. Rather, you are offering them the chance to potentially have eight or nine different careers under one roof, in return for long and loyal service.

2. Provide meaningful work

A very important recruitment and retention method is to give staff meaningful work. By this, we mean work that allows them to have responsibility and accountability for projects that have a real bearing on the business.

Pride is an important factor in people’s job satisfaction.

3. Be transparent

Treating employees well should mean treating them with common courtesy; not like robots brought in to respond to your command. Share your vision. Share the company’s progress. Share your belief that you value them by respecting that they will want to know how the company is doing.

After all, their livelihood depends on it. Do this by making them privy to regular, candid updates. Through exposing them to your plans and progress, plus the challenges and threats the company faces, you are strengthening their commitment to your business.

4. The children are the future

Technology is transforming the way we run our businesses and it is the younger digital natives who are best placed to detect the new big thing. You must give them the freedom to do so. This is a tightrope to walk, meaning you need to balance their lack of work experience with their wealth of digital knowledge.

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Plus, you will need to ensure their presence is not disruptive to long-standing employees, anxious about the arrival of these “upstarts”. However, careful management will allow you to have a tier of entrepreneurial tech-savvy workers, who feel invested in and appreciated but also realise that the company offers them a lot of opportunities and chances to learn.

5. Encourage innovation

To extend point 4, employees at all levels should be free to experiment in order to come up with new ideas. This could be the chance to try a different role through a fixed secondment period, or the scope to trial a new process. This commitment to creativity does mean you have to tolerate higher levels of risk.

You also need to ensure you can be agile when it comes to internal organisation. However, trial and testing has been the key to our growth and we have found that if you set clear boundaries, allowing staff to innovate, testing as they go, you stand to reap rewards.

Further reading: Fifteen ways to remain productive at work

This article was created in association with Cartridge Save.

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.