Have you maximised potential talent before you recruit?

At the start of the year many business owners are looking to hire new people, but what about your existing talent?

What can you do to ensure you keep your top performers and develop new ones?

Here are five tips to increase staff loyalty, boost retention and develop new sales stars.

Dedicate some time to them.

Before you try to motivate someone, it’s important to know what motivates them. Showing personal interest in people takes time and effort on your part, but the results are well worth it. By identifying their personal goals and then linking them to their business objectives you create genuine motivation and engagement.

Work with them to understand their preferred communication style and personality. This will create good communication and build long term relationships. Nigel Risner’s book ‘It’s a Zoo around here’ is an excellent resource to assist in developing communication between all sorts of different personalities in your team. So, rather than using online surveys or profiles to get feedback, devote time to improving your communication and relationships. Make time to speak to them personally in a relaxed informal atmosphere.

Share your Vision.

Ask them if they know what the vision is for the business? Often the answers may surprise you! If their answers are not what you were expecting, look at how and when you and your management team are communicating this vision to everyone. Make sure it is believable and compelling not just meaningless corporate words we all see hanging on office walls. Don’t forget to remind them what the goal is!

Give them some purpose.

Now they understand the vision clearly, show them the connection between their efforts and activities and the results produced. If they do their job successfully, what does that mean for the company? Enable them to wake up each morning having a sense of purpose in the work they do, show how it makes a tangible difference. Everyone can add value and play a key part in creating success.

Give them some room to grow.

Retaining top performers is directly linked to their personal development. Many people have long-term personal and business ambitions. However, they may not always share them with you! But if you talk to them about them, and then help them to achieve them, you will gain their loyalty, resulting in greater retention. Is there an area of the business that they would love to get involved with or do they have some skills that you are not currently developing or using? Why not allow them to put together their own career path and training proposal showing how they could add value to the business whilst achieving their personal goals? If your staff turnover currently averages at around 2 years, then why not create a 3-4 year development plan with each of your staff, giving them more reasons to stay with you?

It’s essential that the individual has a path of growth within your company and can gain increasing ownership. When you are hiring, actively think about what new employees’ careers will look like not just what they’ll do day to day. How will they fit into your structure? Can you create management or leadership opportunities for them in the future?

Then you can revisit those conversations to determine how they can develop and take on more responsibility over the year. Helping employees grow within your company lets them know you’re committed for the long haul.

Give (and Ask for) Regular Feedback

Many people dread their yearly reviews because it’s often the only time they get any feedback, and what if they have unknowingly been doing something wrong in the 364 days since last year’s review?

When it comes to retaining talent, one important tactic is to implement an informal weekly review together with a formal quarterly check-in. This prevents miscommunication or unclear expectations developing from both sides. So, why wait till the end of the year to tell people they are doing a great job? Conversely, why miss an opportunity to help them improve if they’re not meeting expectations? Use these opportunities to make adjustments and mid-flight corrections to keep everyone focused and moving forward positively.

Don’t forget that feedback is a two-way street, so be prepared to roll with the punches when you ask for some. A leader’s willingness to have difficult conversations is one of the most underrated management skills out there. However, it’s during these conversations that you get a true reading of people’s views. You can facilitate this by creating an environment that encourages everyone to speak up freely. But remember it may also require you to push for truly candid feedback on your own performance … and then be prepared to accept it gracefully!

I encourage you to put an on-going development plan in place for the individuals in your team. I’ve have found that clients who have used this approach have significantly increased staff retention and discovered potential talent already within the company just looking for an opportunity to shine!

Copyright Peter Holland 2019. All rights reserved.

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