It’s time to think of your staff as your competitive advantage


In today’s employment market it is crucial for business owners and managers to engender a work environment where the staff actually want to stay.

Staff attrition can be irritating, costly and have a negative impact on morale in any work environment. As companies grow and teams expand, people will leave – it’s a fact of life – and they will leave for many reasons. Some will simply be wanting more money – and that is a relatively “easy” fix; someone else may feel they have outgrown your environment or what you have to offer them and be seeking a totally new direction; while others may feel disenfranchised as a result of a lack of recognition, appreciation, or empowerment.

Whatever the reason, it is the role of the manager to prevent people leaving for the wrong reasons, and more importantly to prevent the wrong people from leaving.

As a manager, you may be seeing progress in a certain individual’s career. However are they seeing progress in their own career? And more importantly, are you letting them know that you are seeing progress in their career?

There will usually be a gap between an individual staff member’s motivations and means of self-assessment and the organisation’s or management’s expectations and means of assessing staff performance. The manager has the task of bridging such a gap and balancing the goals of the individuals alongside the needs of the business.

Consider your staff to be an investment – not a cost, and ensure that they remain your competitive advantage.

Acknowledging your staff and giving them regular feedback will ensure that you maintain their levels of motivation and ambition, and will help you create a sense of achievement that will make them want to stay.

Top performers, high achievers and other key personnel need to be retained.

Bonus schemes don’t necessarily prevent staff from leaving, as your competitors will always find a way to entice your key players if they have made a mark for themselves in the industry. It is important to find a balance between reward and recognition when it comes to creating a positive work environment and retaining staff.

Reward will almost certainly be financial, while recognition will affect someone on a far more emotional and personal level, and if taken out of context, reward can mistakenly be viewed as a quick fix, while recognition will leave a more positive and longer lasting impression in the mind of an individual.

So whilst you may be in a position to cover an individual staff member’s mobile phone bill every month, to provide your team with lunch on a “casual” Friday, or an individual with a car spot in the building, these morale boosters may in fact do nothing for your team member’s motivation if you are not helping them achieve their personal goals by keeping them challenged and inspiring them for what realistically lies ahead.