Staff can make and break your business.A good one will put money in your pocket, while a bad one will bleed you dry.
Staff turnover is a big money-sucker. Well trained staff who know how your business works are more reliable and cost effective than the best newcomer. So you need to implement strategies for first attracting the right staff, and then keeping hold of them long term. It’s not rocket science, happy staff will be more productive and stick around longer, period!
Company culture is where you need to start! It might sound like buzz words, but I promise it makes a difference. Just think back to when you where an apprentice. Think about a business you loved working for verses one you loathed working for. I can almost guarantee the workplace culture is the main difference. Digging a hole for a boss you respect and admire feels very different from digging a hole for one you do not have time for.
- You need a clear vision of your company culture. Spend some time to write down the culture you want to manifest in your business. It will only take about twenty minutes, but it will give you clear direction when you go to make cultural decisions like hiring staff and engaging with clients.
- Aim to hire staff that show signs they align with your company culture. Often it is worth hiring the right fit for the business, over the more skilled applicant. At the end of the day, it is much easier to upskill staff than change their outlook. If a new hire doesn’t gel with your business during the trial period, let them go, it is much easier to do it then than in three years’ time.
- Gradually let staff go that don’t fit. Of course you should encourage them to embrace your vision, but if they are upsetting your business it is better to part ways than struggle on.
Employees are generally happier when they have predictability. They want to know what they are doing and when. It is worth remembering that work makes up a small part of their life, they want to forget about it when they leave site. If their work life is uncomplicated, they can get on with enjoying the rest of their lives. That does not mean they will compromise their commitment to their job at work; it just means that they do not want work to consume their every waking moment. When staff know where they need to be tomorrow and what they are doing when they turn up, they are more likely to turn up on time and much more likely to be mentally prepared for the work ahead when they do -even if it is to hand dig a swimming pool in a courtyard in Newtown! Use job management software that has a good scheduling system and that scheduling is communicated through one location.
Systemising your business, through software implementation along with policies and procedures will also vastly improve communication within your business. When your employees know where to find information, they waste less time and can be more productive. They know what is expected of them, so they are more likely to deliver!
Many business owners are afraid to invest in staff training because it can be costly and they feel the staff will just upskill and move on. In fact, many studies have shown that when you invest in staff training, staff are more likely to stick around because they feel more satisfied with their work. And, of course well trained staff will always have a positive impact on your bottom line. So, do not be afraid to invest in staff training. It is far from being a catalyst for them to leave, and it is much more likely to encourage them to stick around for longer.
Review and Reward
Like it or loath it, the next generation of employees crave constant feedback and reward. I know it is not how it was done back in the day, when you would have a review once every twelve months and be lucky to get a minimal pay rise let alone productive feedback. These days, if you want to retain the next generation you need to provide more feedback and more often. You will see greater job satisfaction and job retention when you give them regular, informal guidance and praise for even the minor tasks, combined with meaningful rewards such as time in lieu, social and team outings or even a small bonus. As much you may have the urge to shrug off this suggestion, this is a meaningful way to retain staff and not continually churn through staff in your business.
If you have not moved to a cloud-based job management system yet, now is the time. The next generation of workers do not tolerate doing things inefficiently, they are used to technology systemising their lives, so they expect the same in the workplace. Yes, perhaps too much time is spent on their phones, but this has also made them much more efficient at dayto- day tasks than we ever were. Embrace the change if you want to retain good staff.
When you create a work environment where people can engage in real friendships, you create a company people want to work for. Encourage workplace friendships with the Friday BBQ or Office Cookoff – maybe not a great one for field staff, but excellent for the office team. Strongly encourage socialising outside work. When a team get along and has deeper connections than work itself, that team is more tolerant and willing to work together to overcome issues.
Happy workplace = Happy staff
At the end of the day, the key to attracting and retaining staff is as simple as making your workplace, a place they want to be! Build a team that believes in your company culture and nurture that team through communication, training and reward.