Keeping your staff happy is the key to success

James Taylor of Macildowie
James Taylor of Macildowie
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The most important asset for most businesses will be their staff.

Here James Taylor, director at East Midlands-based recruitment agency Macildowie, explains why keeping employees engaged is the key to success and the best strategy for building a positive workplace culture.

As we emerge from what was one of the toughest economic periods in recent memory, businesses across the East Midlands are once again feeling more positive and as such many are looking to grow.

Growth is almost impossible without an engaged workforce.

An employee that is confident of their position within a company and enjoys going to work will be a great asset to any organisation, the culture in your business defines this.

But how do you achieve a positive workforce? We believe there are a number of different initiatives and strategies you can undertake to achieve this and our advice is to keep things simple.

Communication is critical, talk to your team and carry out regular personal development reviews.

Nothing is better than speaking to people on an individual basis to find out what motivates them and what they’re thinking.

A collaborative culture within an office provides employees with a platform to voice opinions and share ideas.

At Macildowie we run a regular ‘great ideas incentive’ that rewards people for coming up with new and innovative ideas for us to implement.

Talking to staff regularly allows a business owner to have a more tailored approach with incentives.

For example one employee may prefer extra holiday days as a bonus rather than additional salary.

Discovering exactly what motivates your staff is key in order to have them striving to reach their full potential.

Ensuring that employees have a work life balance will motivate them in the workplace and improve their general wellbeing.

At Macildowie we run flexible working hours, meaning that our staff are able to work times to suit both their and the business’ needs.

This especially helps parents juggle their work and childcare needs, something that many businesses don’t consider.

This works really well for us, after all if you are happy at home, you are more productive at work.

This year we also introduced a new policy of giving members of the team an extra day’s holiday – on their birthdays which has resulted in an overwhelmingly positive response from staff.

Some companies organise ‘team building’ sessions whereas we prefer to let this develop organically.

Monthly competitions within the company allow departments to compete as a team, with prizes handed out including money towards a night out or wellbeing vouchers for things like gyms or a health spa.

We also fund a yearly trip to Las Vegas for high achievers, this allows employees to let their hair down and enjoy each other’s company outside of the office.

The friendships that naturally occur on this holiday are taken back to the office, creating the positive workplace culture that business owners should be aiming for.

A great knock-on effect of a good working atmosphere, is the high levels of staff retention that comes with it.

Businesses that are growing at a steady-pace with a central core of staff with a vast experience of working together, are the businesses that will succeed over a long period of time.

This is especially true at a management level, where institutional knowledge of a business is invaluable.

These individuals are often involved in the recruitment process, allowing them to use their experience to ensure new employees are a good fit for the business.

Ensuring you have the right team in place is vital. Employer branding is critical and your staff are the guardians of this element of the business.

The stronger this is, the more attractive an image the company will present to the outside world and potential new employees.

We have just had the busiest month in our 20-year history and I know that this would never have happened without the hard work and dedication of our long-standing team.

The economy coming out of the recession will present opportunities in most market sectors, the companies that will take full advantage of this will be the ones that ensure the right team is both in place and motivated.