Let’s be honest – hiring high-performing and reliable people to work for your small business isn’t always a walk in the park. And so it’s natural that when such people end up on your payroll, you might wish that they stay with you forever. There are some key principles you can follow that will help you hang on to your best performers over the long-term, and ensure your entire workforce feels valued and supported. Read on – here are 4 ways to keep your best employees happy and engaged:
1. Give them freedom and flexibility
Once trust is established, your employees should be given as much autonomy as possible. Employees who are empowered to plan their own work day are more likely to stay in their role for longer. The extent to which this is possible will depend entirely on your business, but freedom and flexibility could mean things like: choosing their work hours or work location (for role types that can support this such as laptop-based or non-customer facing roles), setting their own priorities or making decisions about how they go about delivering on their responsibilities.
2. Involve them in business strategy and decision-making
Generally speaking, high performing employees will also have a genuine interest in the business they’re working for. If they’re motivated to deliver at the operational level, then invite them into the strategic space. Maybe you’re considering purchasing a new asset, hiring more staff, adding a new service, or increasing the price of your products or services. Their experience and insights from working on the ground will likely be useful to you. Getting their views will help them buy-into your future vision for the business – and importantly – in seeking their advice, you’ll demonstrate that their knowledge is valued and reflected in the direction you take the business.
3. Career development prospects must be available
Of course it’s important that you show appreciation and recognition of high performing staff in the day to day. But clear opportunities to advance their career and develop their skills are essential. This includes offering increased responsibility over time, prospects for advancing to more senior positions and an increase in remuneration that is reflective of these advancements. This requires that you consider whether your business is able to support such progression. If not, it’s important that you communicate this honestly to your high performers. Most employees won’t want to remain in the same position year after year. But if you can set them up for success by offering them as much experience, responsibility and autonomy during their time with you – then everyone will benefit.
4. Don’t play favourites
There’s a big difference between showing appreciation, and showing favouritism. Be mindful of this – if you continuously place your best employees on a pedestal, others will inevitably be put offside. Those in receipt of your favouritism could also find themselves in the unenviable position of being ostracised by their colleagues. Keep yourself in check because, while healthy competition amongst employees can be a good thing in the right context, your recognition should extend to all deserving members of your staff – and opportunities to become a high performer must be extended to all.
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