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The top 4 ways your small business can keep its best people engaged


Stephen Brown Employee Engagement, Staff Retention, Company Culture...

Owners and Directors of small businesses often ask us to help them to recruit high performing people but then worry about keeping them. This is a common problem and as we often say “Mountaineers need mountains”.  As the analogy suggests climbers want to climb but such structures are often absent from smaller organisations.

If you want your business to grow then bringing in bright people is definitely going to help. As these people mature in their role, the worry of how you are going to keep them is likely to creep in, particularly as you are unlikely to have any form of corporate ladder for them to scale. Let’s face it; in most small businesses without a major restructure even a step ladder is pretty unlikely!

So how do small businesses successfully keep top talent engaged when they don’t have the organisation to promote people?

  1. Give your best people the best prospects, NOT a title.
  2. Studies have proven that millennials are constantly seeking learning and development opportunities. Providing broader opportunities for them to develop beyond their immediate function will enable them to undertake multiple roles within your organisation and maintain their engagement. We have a client who operates an X4 policy; meaning each employee should be capable of undertaking four roles to a high standard. Providing both engagement and flexibility.
  3. Rather than worry about providing your people with a corporate ladder, which can have a negative effect on those who employees who have colleagues promoted ahead of them, we suggest you consider a corporate ‘lattice’, whereby employees are developed in line within a matrix structure. Consider how you can develop your people horizontally as well as vertically and develop specialist competencies within your team to lead projects instead of departments, this enables you to engage more people in senior roles of responsibility more of the time.
  4. Use your team to build your growth. If your best people in your small business have nowhere to go beyond their current role, bringing people in below them as the business grows is the best way to provide them with growth opportunities; it is the difference between rolling out a rope ladder below them instead of erecting a fixed ladder above them.

As specialist search consultants for technical and executive appointments in engineering & manufacturing, with an employee retention rate of 81% beyond the first year’s appointment, of which 72% are promoted or receive expanded responsibility, you can be assured of a consultative service, with processes designed to deliver results. 

Please contact us next time you want to find and select the best people for the long term success of your business.