How to Keep Your Staff

One third of workers would move jobs today if there was no recession.
Aug. 12, 2009 - PRLog -- One third of workers would move jobs today if there was no recession.

This statistic, reported from a recent survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and
Development, has caused the CIPD to warn employers to invest in staff now, if they want to keep them once the recession is over.

But how do you invest in staff when many companies are struggling just to keep afloat?

One company that seems to be doing it right is Market Makers, the five-year old marketing agency and telemarketing bureau. Recent winner of a Sunday Times 100 Best Small Companies to Work for Award (they came 25th), this success has to be a reflection of how the staff feel about their company, as the awards are voted for by the employees.

With the cost of losing a middle management employee running to, quite possibly, the value of their salary, it pays to hang on to your staff.

Of course one of the key ways to reward and recognize your talented staff is through increasing their salary.  But during a recession that’s one of the more difficult things to maintain.  Bear in mind though, the comments of Kevin Riley, of Carlton Resource Solutions :

“However, there are ways to boost team morale and individuals that stick at it and stay during the tough times usually end up being the real gems within your workforce. People who jump ship at the first signs of things getting tough are arguably not the best employees to have on your team."

He suggests that ways you can help them “stick at it”  are by focussing on Training and Development, which offers staff the opportunity to progress within the company, Achievements and Awards, which boosts morale and Loyalty Benefits such as flexi-time or extra days off.  Other suggestions include Team Building Days and focussing on the Health and Wellbeing of the employees.

All of these things are incorporated into the very essence of the way Market Makers operates.  This, perhaps, explains the reason for their success.

For example, Training.  Market Makers have no less than 2 full-time training and development staff and each telemarketer receives around 8 hours coaching every month, as well as being part of the NVQ scheme. Staff are already experienced when they join the company, but specific training is encouraged, particularly in the marketing strategy department, where, as in the rest of the company, staff are expected to be experts in their field. Note that your best employees will be the ones that are keen to constantly learn.
Loyal staff enjoy the convenience of working flexi-time at Market Makers and they are encouraged to take their full holiday entitlement.

Rewarding success is something that MD, Paul Thomas, believes strongly in: “it’s a big thing within Market Makers. Rather than manage on the principle of catching people doing things wrong, Market Makers look to catch people doing things right and then celebrate and publicise the individual’s or teams’ success throughout the business”.

Many companies alienate their staff by imposing a huge divide between senior management and the workers. This is a mistake that is not made at Market Makers.  Everyone is equal within the firm and all team members are treated with the same level of respect.  Says Paul, “we have a very flat one person is more important than anyone else...The whole team are in it together to achieve success”. And promotion is encouraged.  An individual’s progression is planned out within the company and performance is rewarded.

Team building is massive at Market Makers.  Every month there is a whole company outing for those who wish to join.  These social events have included surfing, trips to rugby matches, comedy nights and more. “There’s an electric atmosphere at Market Makers”, says Paul, who impresses that it’s not just the right qualifications and experience that counts when recruiting new team members, but whether they will fit into the team.

Another significant factor in Market Makers’s success is the fact that staff are encouraged to speak their mind.  Feedback and ideas from the whole team, rather than just the senior staff, is appreciated as a way to spark new initiatives.

If you keep these tactics at the heart of your organisation, then you’re putting your company at an advantage to, not just, retain your key staff during the recession, but reap the rewards of success. But if all else fails and you lose a valuable member of staff, don’t forget to carry out an exit interview – that way you’ll learn from the experience.
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