Opinion

Growing a company is great, but it's worthless if you can't make the talent stay

5 min read

18 April 2019

One of the greatest things about being an entrepreneur is creating jobs. However, one of the biggest challenges for an SME owner is retaining people. The days of the ‘job-for-life’ attitude is sadly dwindling as the current generation of workers prefer shorter terms with employers. So how can business owners encourage them to stay?

Figures from the Association of Accounting Technicians in 2017 revealed that, on average, workers go through six different job roles in their lifetime. I’d say that in the last two years that number will have undoubtedly increased. With all the economic distractions of the dog’s dinner that is Brexit, it’s things like this that disappear off entrepreneurs’ radars and can put a company under pressure when it is already getting to grips with the daily fire-fighting that’s an everyday consequence of being in business.

This significant cultural shift has serious ramifications for SME businesses and is an unfortunate by-product of the major lack of investment in the skills and education system. Despite the high levels of employment in the UK currently, there are significant skills shortages that make finding the right people even more difficult. And, when they are in a business, keeping them brings its own challenges.

The jobs market is buoyant right now, so business owners have to work harder to make staff stay

With the high employment rate, businesses are looking at ways to retain staff that might have their heads turned by other employers. The huge uncertainty that’s been caused by the ridiculous decision to leave the EU, has led to many businesses putting spending plans on the backburner, which has included a squeeze on wage increases. This means finding other things that will keep employees in a business, which often means workplace benefits.

The culture of the workplace has changed dramatically in recent years

Although a steady paycheck is essential it is no longer the be-all-and-end-all for a lot of workers. A greater emphasis on the wellbeing and mental health of staff means that employees expect more from their job than just a wage and, according to a new study, it is playing an even more important part in people’s employment choices.

Shallow work perks aren’t enough

Research from landlord Get Living reveals that 11.3 million Brits are not satisfied with their current perks and that almost half of those questioned would leave their job for one with better benefits. The survey also revealed that seven percent of the working population is willing to take a pay cut for a better package of perks. With some creative thinking it’s possible for employers to deliver on this culture change and maintain a happy and talented workforce.

What we do at Pimlico Plumbers

At Pimlico, we have, for many years, evolved our business with this in mind. We are a family business and we aim to ensure that our staff is given opportunities to not only enjoy their work but all of their time at Pimlico. As we all know, an army marches on its stomach and our subsidised canteen is a great refuelling station for our people throughout the day. We also have our rooftop garden, which hosts regular barbeques during the warmer weather, as well as our upcoming summer boat party on the Thames and, of course the legendary Pimlico Christmas party.

However, the biggest revolution has come from our focus on health and wellbeing. The introduction of our in-house, fully-equipped gym has become the must-visit location for many of our workers. This includes a growing number of group exercise classes, like Circuit Training; but it’s the latest additions that have captured the mindfulness of the Pimlico family. We started yoga and Pilates classes and the response has been fantastic from staff.

For smaller firms, there are other options, such as schemes that offer employees discounts on everything from coffee and high street shopping to childcare vouchers, all of which can encourage loyalty and increase productivity.

Employers: Switch up your attitude about health and wellbeing, it benefits your business as much as the individual employees

As we aim to retain the best people to ensure we can deliver a premium service to customers, it is vital for firms to provide a well-rounded package. It benefits the staff and the business in equal measure.