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Four Tips For Retaining And Motivating Your Staff


by Jason O’Brien, Chief Operating Officer of TollFreeForwarding.com

work team office

No matter what stage your business is currently at, it can cause significant difficulties when employees move on to find new employment. The time and energy it takes to look for new recruits, the loss of productivity whilst new staff learn the ropes – not to mention the financial repercussions, which can often run into the tens of thousands – are all going to have a drain on your business.

To avoid all of this, you really want to keep your staff happy and feeling motivated. But how? A few options that often spring to mind are quick incentives such as promotions, a pay increase or providing better company benefits. However, although these are good, they often aren’t what employees deem to be the most important issues relating to their happiness.

Here are five easy ways you can influence your business’ culture and create a place where employees want to stay:

Choose an effective management structure.

Introducing an efficient and smooth-running management structure is crucial to your business’ success – but it’s also easier said than done. Getting this right becomes even more important when you consider that the most common reason staff members move on to pastures new is due to a strained or bad relationship with their boss.

There are several different structures a business can adopt in order to create efficient and well-received management practices. The most traditional of these is takes the form of a top-heavy vertical structure, and provides benefits such as tight levels of control and close monitoring of activity. Though usually highly efficient, it can cause communication issues as decisions may take a while to filter down through the different management levels. If you want a more cost effective and individually focused structure, you may benefit from adopting the more autonomous horizontal approach. This approach allows staff members more freedom over their daily activities and also gives them more say in decision making. Moreover, the absence of multiple managerial levels makes communication more streamlined and allows the business to be more nimble if change is needed.

Focus on staff motivation.

Creating a motivated work force isn’t simple by any means, but it is essential if you want your employees to develop and stay happy within their job. Though there’s no magic strategy that will turn your staff into motivated powerhouses overnight, there are a few simple things you can do to boost motivation levels. For example, focusing on creating positive working environments, encouraging socialising and increasing the company’s transparency are all things that employees will value.

Some alterations are simple yet can have a great impact, and are all ways of getting your staff to ‘buy in’ to the company and make them feel a part of the business. Actions such as these are a great place to start:

  • Remove things such as cubicle/desk barriers between employees
  • Introduce a monthly staff social event
  • Discuss company updates as well as encouraging team members to voice their opinions
  • Announce good work in company updates and celebrate achievements

Ian Golding, a certified customer experience professional, who has worked with businesses for over twenty years, explains that adult communication is often the key to a more engaged work force, “adult to adult is the key driver for motivating and retaining employees. If you treat your people like adults, they will behave like adults, if you treat them like children, they will behave like children.

“It should not be difficult, but acknowledging, appreciating empowering and respecting your own people will lead to them repaying you handsomely.”

Create a feedback culture.

Businesses that include their staff regularly in decision making often see higher levels of job satisfaction and motivation. Introducing features such as an annual staff survey to measure overall satisfaction and company engagement is a great way to root out potential issues within the business. This information can then be used to put actionable steps in place to help remove any barriers your staff may be facing.

Other ways to easily involve employees is to incorporate things such as face-to face feedback sessions or encourage an open-door policy. Introducing a feature such as an online suggestion box or putting together a team of company reps can be a great way to give your staff a voice and make them feel like they can have an influence over the business’ future.

No progression, no retention.

Once you’ve got your key staff the challenge is now to keep them. No chance of career progression is another main reason why employees want to leave their current job. Ensuring your employees have jobs that they can grow into or work towards is an important way of ensuring they’ve got a reason to stick around.

Taking the time to put together a personal development plan with your employees shows them that you value them and want to help them improve. All businesses want their employees to care about the organisation and ‘buy in’ to the company values. So, by having a career development plan in place, you can encourage employees to work towards something, whilst showing them that the company cares about them on a short and long term.

Ensuring there is a clearly defined career path within the company can also help to empower staff and motivate them to progress. Having a reputation as an employer that develops careers is invaluable, and by listing promotional chances alongside job advertisements you can create a huge selling point for potential new recruits.

Staff turnover is always going to be a problem your business will have to face. However, by implementing certain procedures and creating a pleasant and comfortable environment in which staff can prosper you’ll be sure to make a massive difference in staff retention.


Jason O’Brien, Chief Operating Officer at TollFreeForwarding.com

Jason O’Brien joined TollFreeForwarding.com in October 2007 and has helped fuel the company’s growth by building the operational infrastructure for sales, customer service, billing and technical support. Jason’s background, both as a software developer and as a business consultant, has helped him to streamline the day-to-day business processes harnessing best-in-class technology he developed exclusively for TollFreeForwarding.com.