How to keep staff happy and productive

Retaining staff and making a profit are key objectives for most businesses. Craig Joseph, chief executive officer at intY, the cloud distributor explains how he goes about keeping staff happy and improving the bottom line.

Good staff are the best weapon you have when it comes to running a successful business. Having happy employees guarantees that they’ll be producing the best possible work, and therefore your customers or clients will be getting the best possible service. We have more than 50 employees and ensuring they are happy at work is at the heart of what we do. After all, without them we simply wouldn’t have a business. That’s why we spent more than £500,000 last year on making the office as good a place to work as possible, making a space not just for work but for growth and creativity.

Unless you’re a sole trader you will have at least one employee, meaning high staff turnover is detrimental to productivity, workplace culture and eventually client and customer happiness. In the worst cases, it can even make client and customer retention impossible. In our experience, helping staff achieve a proper work life balance is the best way to do this.

We’ve put together a few tips on how businesses at all levels can improve staff retention and why it’s so important:

  • Talk to your employees: The first tip really is that simple. Your employees are human beings with their own thoughts, feelings, ambitions and personal lives outside their time in the office. Communication is key between employers and employees and talking to them isn’t just the easiest way to find out what they want, but it also makes them feel involved in the business and makes them feel they, and their opinions, are valued. Which they should be!
  • Be prepared to take on negative feedback to make positive change: No one likes to hear negative feedback, especially when it’s about something as personal as your own business or perhaps even your actions. Take on board any advice from the conversations you have with your employees and take positive steps to resolve any negativity. It’s all very well and good talking to your team and making them feel involved, but if nothing comes of the conversations then there’s a chance they’ll likely feel worse than if you hadn’t asked for their opinion in the first place. Small changes go a huge way with people, and if there’s consensus within the team for change then you should be willing to trial it and see what happens. The smallest of changes can make a massive difference to employee happiness, and in turn output and productivity.
  • Organise team surprises, days out and events: From an informal drink at lunch or after work to a full-blown team building away day – giving your team a break away from work when they’re not expecting it not only gives them a massive productivity boost, it also helps them become closer to each other. Having a team that gets on is tantamount to the success of any business. You spend most of your time with your co-workers, so it’s important they can tolerate, or better still, enjoy each other’s company. As an employer my worst nightmare would be having an environment where my staff didn’t want to come to work – so creating somewhere that they enjoy coming to is one of the best things you can do when it comes to staff retention. Plus, don’t underestimate the positive impact of simple things like a surprise Starbucks delivery for the whole office during a busy week!
  • Cultivate your culture: Arguably the most important tip is that office culture is key to success. For me, a culture of working for each other where staff pull together to get the work done is best in every sense. I’ve seen some companies where there’s always someone at fault, and blame is happily thrust upon the first available person. Would you want to work somewhere where rather than help one another employees point fingers at their colleagues? To paraphrase Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook HQ, nothing is someone else’s fault. We work for each other and the results are proof that we’ve found a winning formula when it comes to company culture. Get that right, and staff will be with you for the long haul.

Related: Simple tips for creating a fun and positive company culture in your SMB

Finding and securing top talent to work in your business is hard and as any employer will tell you constant recruitment is a costly business. When you do find the right people, keeping them happy should be a priority. Even small things like having free cold drinks in the office or investing in a chill out area for people to go and relax will go a huge way to creating the culture of creativity you need at work. It cannot be stressed enough how important your team is to your business. We have weekly catch-ups with every employee to make sure they’re as happy as they can be. It might sound a bit of a new age approach to business, but our bottom line tells us we’re absolutely on the right path.

Written by Craig Joseph – Craig is Chief Executive Officer at inty

Craig Joseph CEO intY

Craig Joseph

Craig Joseph is chief executive officer at intY, US and European Cloud Distributor Specialists.