Nurturing your business’s talent is the best way to keep ahead of the game, says Zac de Silva.
When employees feel like an important part of the business and can take ownership of their role, they’re far happier in their work – particularly if they have some KPIs (key performance indicators as in “measures for success”) to work towards.
Everything improves if your workplace is a happy one. Sick days go down, staff turnover drops, innovation and best practice improves through employee initiatives, and your business becomes known as being a good place to work.
The knock-on effect for this is that you have a head start in attracting the best talent, as well as retaining your best people.
My human resources expert at Business Changing, Rebekah Blake, spends a lot of time with our clients, helping them to keep and nurture their best people, as well as finding stellar new talent to add to the business.
Her advice is to avoid looking externally to fill vacant positions.
“A better option is to focus on developing your people. It’s worth spending the time and money on developing and coaching your employees. Not only does it result in an upskilled employee, it also results in an employee happy in their work. The benefits of this are far-reaching. Invest in your people and treat them right and they’re unlikely to leave you anytime soon,” she says.
Rebekah recommends a four step approach:
Secondly, identify talent and top performers. Use a structured approach to recognise your talent, then let them know. Doing so lets them know you’re committed and happy to invest in their future with the company.
Thirdly, do some succession planning. Identify critical roles and think strategically about your people. Who are flight risks and what can you do to make them less likely to leave or be poached?
Finally, focus on developing your people. This is a year-round task, not just an annual performance review. Set in place regular catch ups and implement a development plan – and (this is the important bit), stick to it. Spending time with your people and getting to know them builds trust and raises levels of employee engagement. Taking preventative measures along the way will allow you to keep on top of any potential issues and will most likely keep good employees from leaving.
Graduate programmes are a great example of investing in people early in their career. Some companies invest thousands of dollars every year in recruiting graduates who have demonstrated outstanding academic ability but have little or no work experience. Graduate training programmes allow candidates to bridge the gap between theory and practical, allowing them to grow and build relevant skills necessary to achieve their career goals. In most cases, graduates stay with the company who showed them loyalty in the early days (subject to the call of the “OE”). Could this work for your business?
Rebekah suggests you provide individuals with the right mentoring, coaching and feedback from all levels of the business, even if it means allowing the individual to take time out of their day to day tasks.
Employees are more likely to stick around if they have great leaders who are committed to focusing on their personal development. It helps them to see a future for themselves within the company. While money and pay increases are a sweetener, in most cases it’s not enough to make your best people stay – they need more. They need to know that you are committed to their learning and development.
If you’re a business owner or manager, consider implementing coaching sessions. The role of a coach is to identify and help you to focus on what’s important, provide clarity about goals, identify blind spots, help drive development and build leadership skills.
So ask yourself, do you know your people? Are you doing enough to retain your top performers and talent? When was the last time you sat down and discussed your employees development needs?
Zac de Silva is an award winning business coach, speaker and director. He owns www.businesschanging.com.
– Sunday Star Times