In today’s tough economy, retaining top talent is a must for any business owner looking to grow and future-proof his company.
Charles Pritchard, CEO and founder of Entelect, a customised software solutions company based in Johannesburg, believes in doing more than just paying the salaries to build staff loyalty.
Pritchard has learnt that with some creativity, you can create an environment where your staff are allowed to be innovative, leading to an environment where they can get the recognition and rewards that drive them to stay devoted and motivated.
Loyalty starts at home
Having built his company over the last 13 years, Pritchard now has a staff of about 200 employees. His motto is to hire the best, and having a high staff turnover is not optimal in an industry that needs experienced software engineers.
This means that Pritchard needs to have a staff base with a strong sense of devotion.
“No matter how much you pay people, it builds no loyalty, so to keep good people, let them do their thing. Let them grow,” he says.
In order to make Entelect a place where people want to work, Pritchard has encouraged his team to create approximately 15 internal loyalty programmes that encompass everything from incentive-driven rewards schemes to coding competitions and innovation programmes.
One of these programmes is 1Up – an incentive driven points system. Staff members get points for attending training sessions and social functions, for client or staff referrals, for running a lecture, working overtime, joining in on staff activities and sports, or for just doing a really good job.
With so many ways to earn points, it means that each member of the staff is able to get rewarded for doing things that interest them. The rewards include treats such as massages, meals out and even extra leave.
Creating your company’s future leaders
Pritchard goes all out and believes in helping your staff realise what they can be and helps this process through leadership training. In these sessions, general managers and division heads are sent for EQ testing, general training and skills refinement.
The general staff even have a certain percentage of their time that has been sanctioned for use on their own individual projects.
“If your employees are not able to grow in your company they will get irritated and leave,” says Pritchard, adding that this is particularly true of top talent. Beyond that, it’s always a continual evolution of matching the person to the job. This means that you must stay honest and open with staff members about where they are and where they’d like to be.
“This can be achieved through open communication, which creates employees who are not threatened by the prospect of having to always protect their positions,” says Pritchard. “Instead, they can rest secured in the fact that they can grow within the business.”
In an environment that encourages staff to always strive to be better, and that keeps them not only motivated but also devoted to the work that the company is doing, Pritchard is looking forward to a year-on-year growth of an estimated 30% minimum for the next five years.
A lot of Pritchard’s success comes from managing a highly trained team that has been sparked with the willingness to be loyal and to be innovative in the way that they do their work – an Entelectual win-win!