There’s no business without employees. Here’s how to attract and retain them.
Welcome to episode 25 of Leader Talk! In this episode we chatted to the impressive Kobi Simmat, a business advisor, speaker and the founder and CEO of bestpractice.biz, a company that helps business owners expand their business.
With over 25 years of experience, Kobi strives to unleash the potential within every business by offering friendly and flexible business
solutions and continual improvement. Passion driven, he has consulted businesses in seven countries from 50 different industries and has been selected as a finalist for Outstanding Business Person of the Year in the Northern Beaches Local Business Awards, as well as being featured in the ‘Top 50 Unsung Business Heroes’ series.
In this episode of Leader Talk, Kobi teaches business leaders the importance of a good workplace culture, how to capture the right candidates and what you can do to prevent resignation. This was a great chat which we know will help a range of small to medium-sized businesses.
Authored by Kobi Simmat, CEO of bestpractice.biz
You could have the best business proposition out there, but if you don’t have a team to materialise your business, you are bound to fail. That’s why attracting and retaining employees is imperative to a successful business. As Founder and CEO of bestpractice.biz, a management consultancy service dedicated to business improvement, I am passionate about creating organisations that are phenomenal places to work and invest. After decades of guiding countless organisations to success, it is clear to me that investing in employees is key to a continually improving business. Here’s how to create an organisation that will attract strong talent.
Good workplace culture is more attractive than high salary
Small to medium businesses often don’t have the resources to fork out sizable bonuses, fancy office amenities, and free food. So, how can they compete with big companies that do offer these perks to their staff? The good news is, the majority of workers actually value a positive workplace culture over high pay and office perks.
A Glassdoor survey of over 5,000 workers found that more than half (56%) of employees ranked workplace culture as more important than salary. Research from Gallup and AAT similarly found that employees want workplace wellbeing more than material benefits or even perks such as flexible hours and work from home options. This just goes to show that an attractive workplace culture is invaluable when it comes to gaining and retaining talent.
What’s the recipe to a workplace culture that everyone wants to work in? The key ingredients that any workplace will benefit from include providing employees with meaningful work, a sense of responsibility, and growth and development opportunities. These factors will allow your team to feel engaged and purpose-driven, which will not only result in increased productivity, but also lower employee turnover.
With this in mind, ask yourself, is my brand inspiring? Is my cause and mission meaningful? Is my purpose important to others? If the answer to these is yes, then this is what you need to demonstrate to prospective talent who are inspired to embark on your business journey with you. Even if you don’t have the big budget or impressive brand of a large company, you can still find strong talent when you can offer a meaningful, purpose-driven journey.
An attractive workplace culture also allows for growth and development. If you have a fear-motivated leadership style, your team will be afraid of making mistakes and proposing new ideas to you. This can only stunt your company’s growth and increase your employee turnover rate. It’s therefore vital that you create a safe environment for your team to make mistakes, resolve their problems, and learn from it.
I’m not primarily motivated by money and profits. This allows me to afford the mistakes people make and enables them to learn from these experiences. While mistakes may seem like a loss at the time, they ultimately create a stronger, experienced team that will be ready to tackle more problems in the future. Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful light bulb attempts before creating one of the greatest inventions we still use today. Every fallback allows your team to come back stronger and remain motivated at your company.
Reeling in the right candidates
Is there such thing as the perfect job candidate? Maybe they look good on paper but are difficult to work with. Or perhaps they have a great personality but lack the experience needed. What I’ve learnt from decades in business is that you shouldn’t be holding out for candidates that may seem perfect. If you do, you may never get around to hiring anyone at all.
86% of employees and executives state that workplace failures are caused by poor communication and collaboration. Therefore, it’s vital that the people you hire are able to communicate with each other and work together harmoniously. Some of my biggest hiring mistakes occurred when I employed people who were highly developed in their career but were a poor cultural fit and sparked conflict in the team. Just because a candidate may seem qualified on paper, doesn’t mean they will work well in your team.
When looking for the right candidates, you have to adjust your recruitment strategy according to the demographic you’re targeting. Are you looking for upcoming graduates and university students? Put job advertisements on university career websites, pin them on university notice boards, and ask your current employees who are studying to pass on the word to their peers. There are plenty of fish in the sea, but only if you know where to fish.
Think of it this way – what does your business have that will make qualified people want to work there for free? Rather than completely focusing on money, consider the opportunities, support, and environment that you have to offer. It’s not just money that will attract strong talent, it’s also everything else your organisation has to offer. If you’re thinking, something along the lines of ‘this is crazy, no one wants to work somewhere badly enough that they’ll do it for free’, think again. As just one example, there’s a team at bestpractice.biz that people ask to work for without pay just so they can show us how good they are and why we should hire them. We have people asking almost every day, simply because they are impressed with our work culture and want to be a part of it. The team is comprised of young adults who are constantly listening to music on streaming platforms. So, two years ago, we installed a DJ desk in their workspace so they could blast their music and have fun together while they work.
In saying this, it’s not just about throwing material items at your team so that they’ll like you. It’s about making the effort to understand what works for them, what will lift their mood, and what will make them enjoy coming to work every day. I always try to pass on positive energy to my team to rejuvenate them and remind them of our purpose. If you sit down with your employees and take the time to build a positive rapport with them, you’ll be able to create a supportive and open environment that allows your team to feel comfortable and thrive at work.
A study by Microsoft found that 40% of the global workforce considered quitting their jobs in 2020. With the average turnover rates increasing for all organisations except those with 500-1,000 employees, how can small to medium businesses tackle the ‘Great Resignation’?
When a high performing employee puts in their resignation, there’s no one to blame but yourself. This may sound harsh, and I’m not saying that you should beat yourself up for it but holding yourself and your company accountable is the first step to improvement. Being resentful towards the resigning employee will only prevent transparency and a supportive environment. Celebrate the exciting milestone in your resigning employee’s career and then ask yourself, where did I go wrong?
The Australian HR Institute found that 63% of employees leave their organisation due to a lack of career progression opportunities. To combat this, it’s essential that your organisation provides a wealth of growth and career development opportunities. At bestpractice.biz, the majority of our executive team started in entry-level positions or as interns. We offer promotion after promotion, and continual training and development opportunities. After years of growing people internally, we have created an incredibly strong team with high employee retention rates. Growing people internally not only provides the company with purpose-driven, fulfilled, long-term employees, but it also allows your team to feel valued and appreciated for their work which can benefit productivity.
I find that recent graduates are getting smarter and smarter. With access to a world of online information and training opportunities, they are likely to progress quickly and seek new opportunities at bigger companies. That’s why I generally over-index on new graduates in their early twenties. Otherwise, they tend to have a higher turnover, with 18-35 year olds having the highest turnover rate (37%) of all demographics. As leaders, we need to be providing them with internal vertical career opportunities, a sense of responsibility, meaningful work, and gratitude for the things they’re achieving.
When we get caught up in our work and responsibilities, it can be easy to lose sight of everything we’re accomplishing. To remind my team of their wins, I kick off our weekly meetings by asking everyone to share a personal and a professional highlight from the previous week. Encouraging them to reflect on their progress and accomplishments triggers gratitude in their brains and reminds them of the success they’ve achieved at the company. I strive to make our meetings a safe environment for everyone to share their thoughts and ideas. I barely even speak in these meetings until the end because my priority is hearing my team’s ideas and opinions. I’m not looking for a team of yes-men to agree with whatever I pitch; I want a diverse team that is comfortable bringing new ideas to the table. This provides the company with innovation while allowing employees to feel that their contribution to the company is valuable and meaningful. When employees feel valued and grateful at work, they’re more likely to want to stay. You don’t have to be a big company with plentiful resources to do this.
High employee turnover isn’t necessarily inevitable. If your organisation is seeing a high employee turnover rate, ask yourself, why? Rather than blaming it on the job market or on your employees, hold your company accountable and consider the internal factors that may be preventing you from retaining long-term employees. Implement changes to create a workplace that people will be eager to work for, even without pay. You might just be surprised at how your business will transform.