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How to attract (and keep) the best staff

As a business owner, it can be hard to keep on top of everything.

When you’re busy worrying about growing your customer base, it’s likely you won’t be thinking about your appeal to new hires or looking after the team you already have.

However, to be successful, you need to have the very best team supporting you. If you want to attract and retain the best staff, there’s a number of key factors to consider;

Be a job ad peacock and strut your stuff

When you sit down to write a job advert, you should think of it as you would any other sales pitch – always lead with the opportunity. Of course, it’s important to cover role responsibilities and the skills and experience needed, but you must first demonstrate all the reasons that a great person should want to apply.

Think about the things that make you an attractive prospect – discuss company culture and the social side of working with you, highlight the benefits on offer, talk about training and progression opportunities, and make clear that you want this person as much as they should want you.

Think of job interviews like (professional) dates

When hiring managers host job interviews, the worst mistake they can make is believing candidates should be grateful just to be considered without ever showing them why. Realistically, great people get great opportunities, and you are unlikely to be the only company courting their interest. If you want the best talent for your team, you need to give them a good reason to come on board.

Instead of allowing the conversation to be totally one-sided, talk about the opportunities and benefits presented in the job advert, share your passion and take the opportunity to show candidates how great it is to be a part of your company. With this strategy, not only will the person you hire be excited to join (and keen to impress when they do), the ones you don’t employ will tell their peers about the experience and spread the word about your incredible company.

 Offer regular employee reviews

Just like your sales, marketing or advertising strategies, employee development and satisfaction should be reviewed regularly.

Reviews or appraisals are your opportunity to discuss performance, give feedback and establish KPIs for the next month, quarter or year. For employees, it’s a chance to receive praise or constructive criticism in a more structured environment, discuss their ambitions and raise any concerns they may have. Both are equally important and allow staff to see that you care about their development and want to find the best ways to be successful together.

Give everyone your attention

Those who shout the loudest invariably get the most attention, but don’t forget the quiet ones – the employees who keep their heads down aren’t necessarily the safe bet you think they are. Check in with everyone from time to time, find out if they need anything they aren’t currently getting, and make sure that your attention is felt beyond the noisy few.

Without this interaction from the leadership team, unhappy employees will simply plod along until a better opportunity comes knocking, and by then it may be too late to salvage the relationship.

Support and encourage development

Training is a vital part of career progression, be that skills gained while working, or through courses and qualifications. It is rare to find a truly talented individual who doesn’t care about professional development so, whether you have the budget (or desire) to fund external training courses for your team, it is essential that you deliver on-the-job training that will improve performance and encourage growth.

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.” – Richard Branson

Acknowledge good work

A common sign of weak management is a reluctance to acknowledge success. This approach often stems from the fear that regular praise will make a team complacent, lead to unreasonable salary demands, or give employees the confidence and desire to move on to bigger things. Whatever the thinking behind it, the reality is that regular acknowledgement of a job well done is the very thing that keeps most people from looking elsewhere. Avoiding praise only leads to poor job satisfaction. Put simply, ‘treat them mean, keep them keen’ is never a good idea.

Tell staff when they impress you, celebrate the wins both big and small, let your people know that you value their contribution and make a fuss when they do something exceptional! You don’t always need to offer gigantic bonuses or sweeping gestures to keep people happy, just tell them they are valued. It really is that simple.

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