The One BIG SECRET To Retaining Great People

So what’s the real secret to retaining great people?

Well, it’s certainly NOT about pay and financial benefits. In fact it’s quite the opposite – it’s what I refer to as the ‘Non-Financial Benefits.’

Trying to sell a product as the cheapest on the market is a difficult strategy to follow. It is better to focus on more than just price and look at the other services and benefits clients gain from doing business with you.

In a similar vein, you can never compete on being the best payer in the market place (particularly as a small business), so it is key that you are clear about all the other reasons why people work for you, and then build these factors into the way you then promote these to your current and future employees.

In today’s economy, the real secret to retaining people is about providing some fantastic Non-Financial Benefits.

Your employees today no longer want a “job for life” – instead, they are looking for a “job with life.”

People want employment where they enjoy the job, the people, and the environment and yet can still enjoy a great lifestyle away from work.

Here are 7 sure-fire ways to retain your best people using Non-Financial Benefits:

1. Work with clients & customers who are a joy to work with – Clients who are difficult and rude will drain both you and your team – So tackle these customers and politely invite them to change their behaviour – or else change take their custom elsewhere – Having a client base that appreciates and respects your team has a huge impact on your team’s motivation and loyalty towards your business

2. Create a great physical environment – Is your working environment clean, comfortable and well lit? Is it well heated in the winter and air-conditioned in the summer? – Does the design and décor inspire you and the team? – Look at what you can change to make your premises a more comfortable and inspiring place to work.

3. Provide The Right Tools To Do The Job – Do your computers, printers, tools and equipment support your team in doing a great job and providing a great service to your patients? – Look at what tools need repairing, updating or replacing so that your team becomes more efficient and gets more job satisfaction.

4. Offer opportunities for flexible working – Do you offer flexible working options to help your team achieve a better work-life balance? – Be creative in offering people the chance to work 9-day fortnights, maybe hours to fit around their children and hobbies or provide the option to take half a day off periodically once a month. Whatever fits in with the operation of your business.

5. Offer “Special Leave” options – Asda, the UK supermarket chain, offers staff “School Starter leave” for parents wishing to accompany their children on their first day at school, “IVF leave” for those having fertility treatment and “Benidorm leave” for older workers seeking winter sun – one of the reasons why they are regularly voted as one of The Sunday Times “100 Best Companies To Work For” list. – What type of “special leave” can you offer your team so that you keep your best staff with minimal impact on operation of your business?

6. Create a positive atmosphere & have some fun – Do you have negative team members who impact on the morale and atmosphere of your more productive team members? – Make it a priority to sit these people down, offer some constructive feedback and request a change in behaviour. – How often do you go out socially as a team? – How often do you and your team enjoy pointless laughter, wind-ups and banter whilst at work? – Lighten up, arrange regular nights out and make sure that people come to work not just to pay the bills – but because they enjoy working for you.

7. Offer Genuine Appreciation – As human beings we crave appreciation – particularly in the work environment. – So make it a point to regularly tell your people how much you appreciate their hard work and value their contribution. – I suppose, when talking about the “secrets to retaining great people” – this last point really is “the secret.” If your team truly feels valued and appreciated then this a huge step towards retaining their services into the longer term. So make it a priority to create a fabulous working environment where your team can work with clients and colleagues they enjoy being with. An environment where their hard work is valued and appreciated. But a work place which still afford them the freedom and flexibility to enjoy their lives away from work.

The stronger the non-financial benefits of working for you, the less sensitive your team become to financial factors such as pay and bonuses. All of which means that you can retain your staff into the longer term with minimal cost.

So looking at this list above, what ONE change would have the biggest impact on your staff retention figures – but require the least amount of effort to implement?

Copyright (c) 2006 Mr Sital Ruparelia