To Hire More Staff or Not? 5 Signs It’s Time to Grow Your Business
The recruitment process is hard for everyone.
Attracting great staff and keeping them is hard, and it’s becoming harder. The workplace market today is fluid, ever-changing, and the power balance has changed remarkably since the 20th century days of ‘a job for life’. In 2015 the great and powerful Richard Branson put forward the idea that people today are more likely to follow their passion rather than a paycheck1. This means they change employers frequently, according to their goals and interests. The result is a dynamic marketplace. Very often smaller employers are on the back foot, struggling to attract the right people, who will stay with them, growing and learning in their role even as the company they work for grows and learns.
So how to find a team who are the right fit for your business? And how to keep them engaged and happy once they’re on board? Here’s a hint. It’s not always about money.
How to keep employees engaged and happy once they’re on board? Here’s a hint. It’s not always about money.
Show employees they’re valuable to you
First of all, have a plan for new starters. This is especially true for juniors or interns. A recent piece by MLC suggests involving your new recruit in a project or job that visibly serves the company and makes a difference2. Too often juniors are given meaningless, time consuming roles which dampen their enthusiasm for their new job faster than a bucket of water over their head. Instead, show them what’s great about your organisation and how they’re helping to make it greater. If they’re doing work that’s clearly making a difference, they’ll take on less palatable jobs with much less resentment. Every job in the world has it’s tedious and boring parts. Your job as a good employer is to teach staff to accept this, but also to make sure this part of their role isn’t overwhelming.
Make your organisation the best place to work
Forbes magazine published an interesting article by John Tabis in 2014 which said to be successful, employers need to put employees first3. Now while we’re not suggesting the balance of power should be entirely in the hands of those who work for you, we do agree with his points about respect for the lives and outside priorities of employees. Employers who acknowledge the conflicting priorities of work and family and give their people flexibility to manage those priorities, will create a culture of trust and responsibility and mutual respect. Doing this successfully has enormous positive knock on effects for your business. Existing employees will want to stay, and potential new team members will be knocking at the door as your organisation’s reputation for being a great employer grows.
Nail this, and your business will prosper too.
Ask employees what they want (and listen to their answer)
When it comes to incentivising your team, try to think outside the money box. Now this is part of management theory 101 so it’s nothing new, but faced with Silicon Valley’s slippery slides, sleep pods and fabulous free cafeterias, some businesses start to panic. So stop trying to ‘be like Google’, and ask the people who work for you what they would like. There are many ways to create a happy and productive workplace that go beyond yearly cash bonuses or beers, dodgy sauv blanc and a bag of chips around the staff room table.
An article by The Balance4 suggests being creative with incentives. Offering to send staff to popular courses or industry events that might be out of their financial reach, give them travel vouchers, gym membership, or simply offer flexible hours so they can be home for their kids after school. By asking people what they would like, you make each one feel important and individual. In short, you keep your workplace human.
Of course, it could be about money…
Finally, although most of this article has been firmly on the side of non-financial methods to attract and keep good people, there is always a certain attraction to money. It does make the world go around after all. So, consider profit sharing2. If your people share your passion in your products or your service model, letting them share in the potential upside could be exactly the kind of incentive they need to sign on (and stick) with you. And finally, never underestimate the value of a generous and well-structured employment package, including superannuation with a superior range of options for investment. This will benefit employees for years, by achieving returns quietly in the background, and the results at retirement could be life-changing. There are many people who would see real value in this kind of incentive.
Be creative and don’t give up (or get complacent)
Attracting (and keeping) the best employees is an ongoing mission for all businesses, large and small, successful and not so successful. The marketplace in 2016 is one where employees are seeking to follow their interests and passions. If they’re not happy and engaged, they will move on, to another role or even their own start-up. It’s no longer a matter of competitive salaries and fat cash bonuses.
Keeping staff happy every day, not just that one day of the year when they receive their pay rise and bonus letter, is the challenge for every business. For junior staff we suggest giving them a project they can get their teeth into, for older, more experienced team members, respect for family life and obligations will create a culture of flexibility and respect they can work within. And for incentives, we discovered that a ticket to a ‘sold out’ conference could be just as effective as a cash bonus, and a generous super package could be the surprise gold at the end of the working rainbow.
At Modoras we help businesses grow in many ways, why not speak to one of our experts about any questions you have about attracting and keeping great people.
Over to you
Are you a small business struggling to attract the best people? Maybe you’re a disgruntled employee looking for a superior workplace? Let us know in the comments.
- Richard Branson on building a purpose driven team August 2015
- John Tabin: put your employees first Forbes Magazine October 2014
- MLC attracting the best people December 2015
- The Balance: Top ways to attract quality employees
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