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One of my own aspirations for 2019 is to be the kind of business leader who can recognise and acquire the best talent, but also inspire them to invest their future in my organisation.

The start of the year is a natural time for people to think about their lives and to whether they are on the right path, both personally and at work. Every business sees a number of staff move onto other roles at the start of the year.

But how can you tell if this is just normal turnover or if you have a cultural problem – and you’re at risk of losing people who are key to the success of your business?

Workplace wellbeing: is the problem you?

It’s not easy to face up to the fact that you may be the reason employees are moving on. But because business leaders are usually strong-minded individuals – who care very much about the people who work for them – they can often unwittingly be the source of cultural malaise.

Losing employees unexpectedly is not only costly in terms of recruitment costs for an SME, but it undermines the positive work you are doing to inspire and engage your other staff members in the longer-term.

So, here are six strategies for reducing staff turnover:

  1. Losing people hurts. But it’s important not to make it personal and let them leave under a cloud. Instead, take the time to hold an exit interview and learn what you can from their experiences. Celebrate their time at the business with other employees. If there are lessons to be learned, communicate your strategy for fixing the problem.

  2. Do you have good people in the wrong roles? Regular performance reviews allow you to assess how effective they are at the specific tasks assigned. You can also identify any friction points or frustrations.

  3. Deliver on your incentives. It’s all very well setting up schemes to reward employees, but if they don’t see real benefits eventualise, these can damage morale. Make sure incentive packages are targeted to your employees’ needs and that they are not too complex.

  4. Open lines of communications in both directions. Listen to your employees’ ideas and feedback and demonstrate this by widely sharing the resulting strategic business plan.

  5. People management is a skill. Invest in the right team leaders who can nurture talent and maintain a positive energy in the workplace. Deal promptly with the three ‘B’s – blame, bullying and blinkered thinking.
  6. Dump the yes men in your leadership team. If you have to, bring in an external expert – a non-exec, perhaps and trust them to implement changes required to improve staff retention.

From a personal perspective, my enduring resolution for the year ahead is to continue building a positive workplace culture. To succeed, you need good people who believe in your business values.

How have you successfully improved staff retention in your small business?

Read more like this:

Is now the time to change leadership style? 

People ahead of profit – why a leadership development programme is right for your business 

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