BLOG: Gareth Jeffrey, operations manager, alldayPA
They say that it takes a village to raise a child. For those in business, it takes a company to raise a workforce. If you have a responsibility for a team or a whole workforce then there is a burden of responsibility both to develop them for their own happiness as well as for the company profits. This is one area that you can’t win by simply throwing money at it, a happy workforce comes from insight, understanding and a lot of time. People management is so rewarding for those who really care.
Here are some guiding principles that help me keep our annual staff retention rate at 94% – something we are particularly proud of!
Do the hiring shake
The first step is to match new staff to the corporate culture and the recruitment process is critical. In principle, this sounds simple, but is much more difficult in reality. It’s important that a number of different people within the business interview the candidate, allowing a multi-dimensional view of their ability to fit in and transferable skills to do job advertised.
The training tango
Let’s be honest, no one necessarily has 100% of skills and knowledge when they arrive. It is up to the business to invest in its staff and give them the tools to grow. Still, this cannot be a walk in the park and at alldayPA 75% of staff don’t complete the three-month training period. For those that succeed, the return is a team that will invest themselves in the business, propelling the company forward. A structured training programme that maps to a clear set of roles and responsibilities is an inspiration to the workforce.
Flexible as a fandango
Office life has changed thanks to the arrival of new technology and consumer expectations of an always on, always available point of contact. People want to talk to a person regardless of the time of day rather than leave a voicemail – 80% will not to leave a message. So, if your business supports this 24/7 working culture then you’ll know that the standard nine-to-five working day is long gone. As long as the right number of people are working at the right time, consider whether it’s important which people they are. If you can allow a margin of flexibility where they can swap shifts to cover child care or different religious holidays then you, as a business, will be a much-loved employer by demonstrating trust.
The Jeremy Kyle Jive
Does anyone else feel like the Jeremy Kyle of the business world? By building an atmosphere of trust, this can open the door to being an agony aunt. Whilst this is good as the team feels they can talk to someone (a problem shared etc) it is very important to remove the emotion from the situation. As the employer, there are certain practical things that the business can help with for example a short-term interest free loan to bridge a difficult time or move team members around if there is a problem in that area. This does not mean that you become an automaton devoid of feelings, it sets clear boundaries where it’s practical help rather than a moaning session.
Foxtrotting as a family
A part of establishing a climate of trust and team spirit is that people form tight bonds like a family. Be realistic, you are looking for a ‘real’ family atmosphere and not a polished Hollywood version. Things can get heated because people care about each other and the business, however this brings people closer to support each other and bring a top class attitude to the office.