In this blog post, I’m sharing my top 5 tips for retaining talent in a small business without burning through a whole bunch of cash.
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Let’s dive in.
Retaining Talent – Tip #1 – Give them something to care about
The number one way to retain talent is to have them working towards something that they care about.
What is the purpose you fulfill in your organization. What do you do for the public or the world at large that makes you unique or appealing.
Today’s top performing employees have choices and those choices mean they can go anywhere they want. So you need to give them a compelling enough reason to choose you.
There’s a misconception that if you paid more, they would stay and that’s just not true. Money is a short-term fix, if it’s a fix at all. I knew one company that routinely overpaid for their talent, yet 30% of their entire workforce resigned each year.
Instead, define what your purpose is and share that with your employees. When employees feel like they’re working towards something more than them, more than their families, just more, they’re more likely to feel fulfilled in their roles and, consequently, stay in your company.
Retaining Talent – Tip #2 – Get them working collaboratively
So, now that you’ve got something that employees care about, you have to get your team working together.
My second tip to get your employees to work together and collaborate on projects and assignments.
Now, this may sound easy, but I’m surprised every time I see a leader stepping in to direct the work or setting up artificial competitions between employees.
Look, the only way to get employees to collaborate is to give them their goals and give them space to figure stuff out for themselves. Resist the urge to step in and solve problems for them.
Reward results based on team effort. When people from different areas come together to solve a problem, without your help, recognize them for it.
I have a really handy tool to help you define your team’s purpose and top 3 goals. This free guide is perfect for Tip #1 and Tip #2.
Retaining Talent – Tip #3 – Give top performers wide berth
Aside from working with leaders of high performing teams, I’ve also been fortunate to work with some really high performing employees. Their biggest pet peeve, the thing that irks them to no end and causes them to leave organizations is micromanagement.
Now, I’m not saying just leave them alone completely. On the contrary, you need to give your high performers lots of attention to ensure they’re being taken care of. BUT you do need to stop telling them how to do their job. If they’re a high performer, and you admit they’re a high performer, then leave them to do what they do best. You may think you’re being reassuring, but in reality, you’re stifling them. You’re overcrowding them.
I often tell my clients. For your high performers, tell them what you want from them, NOT how you want them to do it.
The next time you’re giving work to your high performer, try that. Tell them WHAT to do and refrain from telling them HOW to do it. Be available to answer questions, but that’s it. Come back here and tell me in the comments, how that worked out for you.
Tip #4 – Support your employees unconditionally
Ok so in the last tip, I told you to leave your employees alone to do the work and now I’m telling you to give them support. Which one is it?
You give your employees berth to do their work, but you also need to be there for them. See, your employees need to know that you have their back. They need to know that you’ll go out on a limb for them. When they make a mistake, which they inevitably will as humans, YOU will be there to support them and help fix things. They want to know you won’t throw them under the bus.
You might be saying to yourself, of COURSE I’d do that for my people. But just think for a moment. If it got serious, how far would you go to fix things? Would you put YOUR name on the line for your employees?
This last point is a little controversial. What do you think? Let’s start a debate. In the comments, let me know what you think of this concept of supporting your employees to the point of putting your own name on the line.
Tip #5 – Hold your employees accountable
Now, at some point in your leadership career, you might find yourself faced with employees who wait for handouts. They’re cruising along, not necessarily poor performers, because you would have dealt with those right away, but not exactly high performers either. You know the ones. They do what’s asked of them. They occasionally do a little more, but generally when things get tough, they bail and start complaining about how hard everything is.
Yeah, you know the kind.
And when you’re in a small business and trying to build a high performance culture, that type of attitude and complacency hurts like a papercut. You don’t see it coming and possibly don’t even feel the pain until you see the blood.
So, what do you do?
Hold your employees accountable. Yes, that means, telling them what you want to see and when they don’t deliver, holding them accountable. It also means not praising your employees to high heaven when all they’ve done is meet your expectations. Keep pushing your employees to achieve drive harder, achieve more while also working smarter. The intent of this tip isn’t to get your employees to work more, it’s to get your employees thinking smarter and owning their success.
Those are my top tips for retaining talent in a small business.
This is just a tiny dose of what you get in my signature program especially designed for small businesses to create a high performance culture. To learn more about this program, book a call with me to see if it’s the right fit for you.
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