You know who they are and what an impact they have on your business. You identify your key staff by those with exceptional relationship skills, have as much knowledge about your business as you do (and in some areas probably more) . You know they have other skills that are not being used or not required in their core role. They are keen to be more broadly involved and know they could be contributing to a greater extent.
These wonderful folks are your business’ most valuable asset. You’ve been fortunate to find them, and you know it. Keeping them is never guaranteed, but there is a way to maximise your chances to do so.
Here’s the secret in 6 steps.
- BUILD TRUST
All relationships are built around one basic premise – TRUST. You and your business imperative needs to establish and nurture a culture of trust. People observe all your behaviours not just the direct unilateral interaction you have with your staff member.
Be impeccable with the consistency in how you treat everyone. This builds trust.
From the start of the relationship with a member of staff build trust. This begins at interview stage, is further cultivated in the onboarding process and is capitalised upon during the employee’s tenure with your company. Like any relationship, be transparent, fulfil promises, communicate often and check in with how your staff feel and ask for their feedback regularly (outside of formal annual reviews).
- TOOL KIT
Every role in your business requires certain hardware and software to get the job done. This could be as simple as a phone or as complicated as your CRM system. It could be a company car or it could be heavy equipment.
Regardless of what it is, ensure your employees know you are open to investing in the tools they need to make their job easier.
Outdated tools and processes are the simmering bubbles in the cauldron of frustration. Budget constraints are a reality and there are times when the business simply can’t afford this type of investment. Nonetheless don’t think these thoughts to yourself. Communicate clearly and often, let your employees know that you know their jobs could be easier if only they had this or that….and be sure to share with them your hopes and plans for achieving these upgrades….and follow through.
- MONEY TALKS
For every role in your business, there is a market $ related compensation.
Don’t pay your star performers market related or benchmarked remuneration.
They’re your key performers!! Estimate costs for replacing key performers range from 20-100% of their salary and there’s huge risk involved.
Always pay your key performers more than market.
It speaks volumes for how they interpret your faith in them. An employee who is well remunerated is far less likely to look for alternatives.
- GENEROSITY AND SINCERITY
As human beings one of our deepest desires is to be appreciated. Each of us has a craving to feel important. At work where we are all caught up in being busy and thinking either about ourselves or the immediate task in front of us. It is easy to forget about your colleagues and the people around you that make your business hum. Put time aside and consider what it is about certain individuals, be they employees, suppliers, customers or friends and family that you appreciate.
Be specific and generous with this praise and most importantly sincere in how you communicate.
Your key staff will value this beyond dollars and job title. Catch your staff doing something really well and let them know how this makes you feel and acknowledge them for this.
- OTHER BENEFITS
Take the time to really know what matters to your key staff. It could be an interest outside work. A new year’s resolution. It could be a dream holiday. It could be a relationship difficulty they are having with their significant other. It could be problem they are unsure how to solve by themselves.
Whatever this is, surprise them with something that will help them either get closer achieving or resolving this non-work-related matter.
It shows you care, and people respond with loyalty and reciprocity.
- LEAD BY EXAMPLE
All you need to do here is remember the 2 golden rules.
Treat others how you would like to be treated AND
Don’t take yourself so fucking seriously.
Life is short and should be fun. Bring a light-hearted sensible approach to work. Strive to be happy and cheerful. Learn to laugh at yourself and be self-deprecating to an extent. You don’t need to know all the answers, you just need to surround yourself with people whose collective intelligence is greater than your own…..and follow these six steps to keep them!
“Those that really know my strengths and weaknesses are better able to bring out the best in me. They nurture my strengths and address my weaknesses through training and opportunity.
Often for me, it is the connection that I form with my manager which allows them to truly understand my capabilities and mindset. A good boss also ensures that I don’t sit inside my comfort zone and continues to stretch me without undue stress. They are also collaborative and generally guide rather than dictate.”