Finding, hiring and training new members of staff is an expensive exercise: £30,614, according to recent research. This is a startling amount for any business to incur, particularly for an SME.
It is more effective to retain the staff you do have. But, how does an SME stop their staff heading off to work for a large organisation who can offer higher pay and more financial perks.
In reality, an SME can’t compete with these large organisations, not on a financial basis anyway. SMEs need to leverage their position in other ways. These practical tips explain how to keep top talent within the business.
Money is not everything
SMEs do not have the financial resources to compete with larger companies on a salary basis. It makes more sense for them to focus less on pay and more on additional benefits.
These can include offering free breakfasts once a week, Friday afternoon drinks in the office, dress down days, turning a corner of the office into a relaxation area, allowing them to carry holidays over.
Taking this one step further could involve implementing a staff discount scheme, giving staff discounts on holidays or days out.
Setting the right balance
Getting the right work / life balance is a top priority for everybody. Larger institutions are more rigid when it comes to working hours.
It is thought that in order for people to succeed at large companies, they have to put in ‘long hours’. SMEs can use this to their advantage, been more flexible with their staff, allowing them to leave early for doctor’s appointments, giving them the opportunity to work from home or doing overtime in return for days off in lieu.
Engagement is key
Keeping staff feeling ‘engaged’ with the company is the most difficult task for all organisations. When they first start they are full of enthusiasm and are eager to impress the boss.
As time goes on, if you don’t motivate and engage them these feelings diminish. Simple things can turn this around. A ‘through it in the pot’ afternoon, are great for encouraging staff creativity and stimulating ideas for growth or improvement. Sometimes the craziest ideas are the best!
Also, things such as staff developments days or starting an a quarterly company newsletter will improve staff engagement.
Recognise staff contributions
You don’t have to say ‘Well done,’ every time an employee completes a task, but if they have done an outstanding job on a project, they need to be recognised for it.
A simple, ‘Well done that was a great job’, goes a long way. It makes people feel valued, gives them a sense of pride in their work and shows that their hard work is appreciated.
Don’t set boundaries
A reason many people choose to work for an SME is that they know they will have the opportunity to get involved in different projects. In larger organisations, people can become defined by their job title and an attitude of ‘that is not my job’ can set in.
SMEs have the opportunity to develop a role to suit the person. If an employee shows outstanding skills in a certain area, discuss with them how it can be incorporated into their role.
Don’t ignore your staff’s invaluable skills, at the end of the day it could cost you a lot of money!
Emma Saldanha is a consultant at Maple Resourcing.
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