How do you keep your prized team member?


Attracting & retaining quality personnel is one of the challenges small business owners face.

When a team member leaves, business owners usually assume money is the driver. This reasoning is actually convenient for the employer because it shifts the blame away from themself and the organization. Surprisingly, most workers do not actually leave because of the money, but other factors. Here are some tips on how to keep your prized team members:

Change your language: Don’t have “staff” or “employees”. Have a team member. Staff or employees tends to refer to a master/servant relationship. Team members work together to achieve great results. It’s a subtle shift in language but important.

Share your why. Simply coming in to make the Boss money isn’t going to be a motivator. If you can share with them the vision of the business & the impact it has on the community, they will move from being an staff member who simply turns up, to a team member who takes ownership for their role because they believe in what the organization stands for. If you share your values up front – you will likely find you eliminate poor cultural fits at the interview process & increase the quality of the team hire.

Understand their why and what makes them tick. Most team members don’t turn up just for the pay! Get to know them & their values. Understanding what is important to a team member & designing the role to closely align with their values will have a significant impact on the productivity & retention of a team member. Some may crave the opportunity to express creativity, others might want flexibility, another may be really interested in technology. Designing the role to align with the team members why will result in having a far deeper connection and level of engagement. There will always be someone who can pay your team member more – building this connection gives them a reason to stay!

Continuous Feedback. Constant communication between employee and manager is a practice that every leader should implement. If you are honest from the very start about the expectations, deliverable and career growth of the team member, you are setting the tone of your work relationship.

Bring on the challenge. Every team member, especially someone with a lot of potential, craves challenges in their respective careers. Assign projects that will enhance their abilities in decision making; this will make them excited on what’s ahead and will make them realise their importance in the organisation.

Create opportunities. There is a career plan set in the mind of any team member the minute he or she steps in for a job interview. Be honest and candid on the opportunities that are possible to attain in your company. Do not hesitate to train and encourage them to undergo additional mentorship or special courses. Make them excited from day one and I assure you, they will stay on and grow.

Provide the tools to do the job! Give staff the tools, resources and training to do the job. If you want a task done a certain way, document a system & train the team on it. If their tasks require equipment or software needed to do a task, make sure you provide it. Set your team up for a win!

FUN! Create projects or events that encourage employee bonding and relationship development. These programs can serve as rewards and an opportunity for an overall development of the team. A simple team building exercise will break the monotonous day-to-day work life and will be an event they can look forward to.

Do they know their mandate? Is it crystal clear what their role & responsibilities are? If our expectations are not clear, how can we expect someone to meet them? Document the role and give guidance as to the level of authority. Each team member has to make decisions and solve problems. This will encourage staff to “own” their role, and eliminate micro-management.

Explain how important the role is! Job satisfaction comes from making a difference. If people don’t believe they make a difference, then it will be hard for them to stay motivated. When I was attending university I had a job washing dishes in a restaurant. Rather than treating me as a lowly “Dish Pig” – the manager explained to me that the team of chefs and cooks relied on me to have clean plates and pans brought to them on time so they could deliver the quality meals without the chance of food spoiling because of delays. I instantly saw my role as being a critical part of the team – rather than just being a dish washer.

Now, here are some tax effective strategies every small business owner should consider for their team members:

Salary Package: Packaging up items such as vehicles, phones and electronic devices can deliver more take home pay for the employee at no extra cost to the business.

Team Member Rewards: You can reward team members (and their spouse) with minor & infrequent benefits (Less than $300 in value) tax and FBT free. This is a tax effective way of providing rewards for great work – and recognising great work is never a bad thing.

Buy the team lunch….everyday! Food and non-alcoholic beverages consumed onsite are tax deductible to the business and FBT free. Having the team sit to eat meals together will promote interpersonal connections, saves time, and also promotes you as an employer of choice. In organisations that do this, we have seen they attract & keep the best team members.

What are your tips on keeping your best team members? Comment on the section below. We look forward to hearing from you.


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