How to Reward and Retain Your Staff (Without Breaking the Bank)

Staff retention can be tough for an SME as the UK economy grows and the marketplace for quality people becomes more competitive.

A promise of more pay can lure even your most enthusiastic performers away and, if you can’t compete with the money, you’ve got to get creative. It’s not all about the money for many employees either; many are looking for recognition, training, or a clear route of progression in order to keep them content in a company. Here are some great, non-financial ideas for keeping your staff around, and satisfied.

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  1. Offer your employees equity in your company instead of expensive cash bonuses. There are tax-friendly options for rewarding all of your staff at once using HMRC approved share schemes, but it may be more effective to use a performance-based Employee Management Investment (EMI) option for all your management staff. While you should approach it with professional help, this option can create long term employee retention and increase employee engagement.
  2. Show them some recognition. Recognition is an important part of keeping staff content. While flashy novelties can be effective, you’ll find it easier to motivate staff with a personal approach; a handwritten thank you note for doing well on a project, or outspoken gratitude for their hard work to the whole company or in a departmental meeting.
  1. Seek ways to align your employees’ personal career goals with your organisation’s goals. Larger organisations can’t compete with an SME in their flexibility, and your business is in prime position to boost staff retention if employees’ personal development goals are being met. Whether that’s an external course, chances to work with different departments to express and train skills, or even expanding the products and services you’re able to offer, helping employees to achieve their personal career goals and development could be an incredibly effective tool for staff retention.
  1. Give your employees some control over how they approach their day-to-day work. Giving your employees a sense of ownership over their work processes and schedule can really help to boost morale, and help increase overall engagement and responsibility amongst staff as individuals begin to feel a sense of pride over their work.
  1. Allow flexible working. As we mentioned earlier, your SME has far more flexibility than a larger organisation, and playing to that strength is vital. If you don’t already, try offering your employees some options like telecommuting, flexible arrival and leave times, or similar tools to alleviate some of working life’s smaller inconveniences.

Get creative, it’s the strongest asset you have as an SME! However you choose to approach motivating and retaining staff, be sure to ask for their input to see what’s important to them, and take this feedback on board accordingly.