Telling the truth about SME life today

Why retaining and rewarding staff should be top of your to-do list

I co-founded Block with Marc Chang in 2006. Over eight years, the company has grown from two to 120 staff.

It hasn’t always been an easy ride, but we’ve learnt a lot about how to retain and reward staff to keep them motivated and the business growing.

About three years ago, Marc and I took a look at the size Block had reached and decided we needed to create a management team, and therefore a formal employee structure.

Wed reached about 50 staff and wanted the business to continue to be based around the core values we set the business up with. I wanted the dynamic and vibrant culture to keep growing and our customers to enjoy working with us. 

But leadership as a duo via the command and control method wasnt the way we wanted to move forward. Building a management team enabled us to strengthen the culture, and Im sure, grow bigger and better. It also helped us retain our staff and reward them in more suitable ways.

How growth made us focus on retention

Our quick growth at the start of the decade meant that our workforce needed to increase. With deadlines, large projects and tight service level agreements, we needed skillsets and capabilities that could step up to the challenge. 

Although we recruited good people with the right skills to get the work done, the mistake we made, which Marc and I quickly realised, was that excellent technical skills and well crafted CVs make good employees but we actually wanted stakeholders: people with the right beliefs and behaviours as well as the right skills.

If the company was to grow in the way we wanted it to, we needed people who wanted to be truly engaged with the business and buy into it in the same way we as founders did.


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