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How Do I Retain Top Talent In My Organisation?

A company culture is built from the top, which means as a business owner you will need to drive these ideals.

Juliette Attwell

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Retaining talent: This is a topic that has been researched, studied and agonised over by many companies, countless times. It is a question that surfaces at HR summits, engagement seminars, retention brainstorms and throughout boardrooms countrywide. So how do successful companies do it? And how can you implement these strategies into your organisation?

There is unfortunately no standard answer, but there are definitely points you, as a business owner, can consider.

Consider different generations within your business

A survey conducted by Careerbuilder in the USA among 2611 hiring managers and human resource professionals and 3991 employees concluded that 39% of employers are concerned they will lose top talent in the next year, 66% of employees were satisfied at work and 25% were planning to change careers within the next year.

Related: Retaining Employees After Layoffs

Talent retention is therefore a crucial area to focus on. In the same survey salary, benefits, flexible schedules and employee recognition were all important factors when employees were asked what’s important to them.

The importance of these factors however varies depending on age, generation, values and experience. Says Laura Reynolds CEO of Recruitgroup: “the generational gap plays a huge part in retaining talent, and speaking to these various groups and understanding that they are different and have different internal motivators goes a long way in retaining talent.

“A generation X (born 1966 – 1976) employee will be motivated by benefits, performance bonuses and stability whereas generation Y (born 1988 – 1994) will want flexible hours, on the spot recognition and are driven by a desire to make a difference. As you can see, you will really need to decipher which generation you’re speaking too and differentiate your retention strategies based on this.”

Once you have decided on your company’s generational split you will need to decide on what areas you need to look at. Is it increased salaries? Implementing performance bonuses or flexitime?

If 90% of your sales team is Gen Y, it is safe to say that they would be motivated by flexible working hours, however this cannot be implemented in isolation and needs to be done holistically to see what makes business sense. Based on the above and acting typically towards what your business is made up of you can work towards the following steps:

Create an environment where people feel valued

This seems like such a simple concept but very few companies do this. Small things like greeting everyone by name, celebrating birthdays and asking for their opinion on important decisions all add up to people feeling valued and ultimately very happy and loyal to their companies.

Reward, recognise and appreciate good work

It is vital to acknowledge good work on a continuous basis. If a job is well done then depending on the particular persons generation this reward can be either a bonus pay out, time off work, a team lunch etc. You can find out from your staff what they see as a reward and implement that. Remember that no task is too small to be rewarded, if it’s done well it needs to be acknowledged.

Encourage open and honest communication

The majority of people will leave a company because they feel that their manager doesn’t listen to them. If you have an open door policy and encourage honest discussion with your employees you will be able to understand better whether they’re unhappy or satisfied.

Related: Be an Employer of Choice

The communication works both ways and you need to continuously communicate your plans, ideals and expectations with them so that everyone is on the same page.

Identify new career paths and skills training

If you feel that there are currently no accessible paths in your business, perhaps it’s time to look at new areas of business that can create new career paths.

Top talent will need to know that there is room for them to grow and you don’t want to lose them because your company couldn’t offer them an opportunity to aspire to.

Skills training will go hand in hand with this and if a company can provide valuable training, there really is no reason to leave.

Invest in wellness strategies

This goes hand in hand with feeling valued. If a company can implement health and wellness programs that have the best interests of their employees at heart then you really are on the road to retaining talent. This could be healthy canteen lunches, gym memberships, counselling services or as simple as providing fresh fruit on a weekly basis. This will go a long way in motivating staff.

Encourage a culture of Intrapreneurship

A strategy that Google uses to retain its top employees is to give them autonomy to create businesses within their business. For example a top executive wanted to leave and start her own email marketing company.

Google offered her to stay and start the business up within Google, she now manages over 30 people and email marketing is one of the biggest business units of the company. Instead of losing this talented individual to a competitor, Google was able to harness her skills. A win win for both sides.

Related: How To Keep Your Staff

Attracting and more importantly retaining the best talent in the industry takes time and effort and unfortunately there is no quick fix. In the long run however it will pay off for you and your business.

Juliette Attwell is Head of Marketing and Operations at Recruitgroup Recruitgroup, a leading recruitment agency that has won Recruiter of the Year in SA for 4 years running. Having grown and developed the Recruitgroup brand over the last 7 years, Juliette is passionate about career engagement and development as well as writing, communication and PR. Juliette was a finalist in the Top Young Executive of the Year- National Business Awards 2014 and holds a Bcom Industrial Psychology with Honours in Marketing. Contact Juliette@recruitgroup.co.za.

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Leading

How To Make Speedy Decisions As A Leader

Whom of us has not been held prisoner by our own devices of procrastination and fear? Whom has not used delaying tactics purely to play for time only to learn the true practical meaning of Shakespeares words: “I wasted time and now time doth waste me”?

Dirk Coetsee

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“Trusting one another, however can never mean trusting with the lip and mistrusting in the heart.” – Mahatma Gandhi


“Self-trust is the first secret of success” – Ralph Waldo Emmerson

Whom of us has not been held prisoner by our own devices of procrastination and fear? Whom has not used delaying tactics purely to play for time only to learn the true practical meaning of Shakespeares words: “I wasted time and now time doth waste me”?

Rapid decision-making

Harvard research has identified amongst other key traits of the most successful CEOs’ of Fortune 500 companies the ability to make decisions quickly and act on them at a rapid speed albeit with the inherent acknowledgement that they might get it wrong forty percent of the time.

Related: 7 Strategies For Development As An Entrepreneur

Why is speedy decision making and a rapid pace of execution so critical? Top leaders know that making quick decisions combined with swift execution creates a much better chance of success as opposed to very slow and bureaucratic verdicts underpinned by little or no action.

When there is a high level of distrust amongst the stakeholders in any entrepreneurial venture literally everything slows down as negative arguments ensue and takes up an enormous amount of precious time. Forced action underpinned by distrust loses quality and speed and can potentially bring a business to its knees.

“The speed of trust” is therefore an extremely valuable principle that all Leaders should live by, that is if they wish to serve a higher purpose than themselves and others. Those Leaders whom have developed a high level of self-trust and have earned the trust of their team members have put themselves in the very advantageous position of being empowered to move towards their vision at a rapid pace through quickfire decisions positively multiplied by confident and competent execution.

“The speed of trust” does not mean that decisions are made without careful consideration and stakeholder input putting the level of quality of execution at imminent risk. It simply means that the decision-making process is quicker than most as mistrust does not cast unnecessary shadows of doubt over the intentions and ambitions of all the stakeholders.

A Leader or Leaders whom has fostered self-trust within themselves will not go through lengthy spells of procrastination that those whom lack self -awareness and suffer from severe self- doubt has to go through.

How do I execute at the speed of trust?

How do I practically bring the principle of the “speed of trust” to fruition within my business? Firstly, ensure that this critical principal is applied throughout all business processes which starts with hiring trustworthy people and by working those out of the business whom cannot be trusted.  Secondly, as  a Leader your actions and words echo throughout every aspect of the business therefore do what you say you are going to do. Admit to your mistakes and fix them.

Thirdly be authentic in your pursuit of the vision of your business. One of the possible ways to achieve that is by being a visible and living example of the business values that you advocate as a leader.

Related: Sales Leadership: The New Frontier

Lastly in order for you to be trusted as a leader you must first show trust in others. Trust others by giving them more responsibility and verbalise your high level of trust in your team members. Passionately speak about this principle and its positive fruits at every opportunity. Make the practical display of this principle by employees or any other stakeholders known to all stakeholders and be lavish with your praise when anyone is willing to earn the trust of other team members.

A very good example of this principle in action was embodied by the Supreme Russian commander, Alexander Vasilyevich Suvorov whom never lost a battle and was respected by both his men and his enemies. He earned the trust of his men by being amongst them as often as he could, by sharing their hardships and by offering them the most authentic and quality military training known to man within that period of history.

Suvorov was a humble student of warfare and documented every detail of his learning experiences which included setbacks that he faced. He observed the morale of his men first hand and ensured that he inspired them not only through his inspiring speeches but by being a living example of discipline and bravery.

I will leave the reader with an important question to ponder, one that has echoed throughout history: Do you trust enough to be trusted?

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What Kind Of Leader Are You?

Your effectiveness in scaling your business starts with the kind of leader you are. Here’s how you can build yourself up into a leader others will follow.

Nicholas Haralambous

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When you are in start-up mode it’s tough to take a step back and think about the kind of leader you are or want to be. Most of the time you’re fighting to keep your business alive, never mind think about how you lead.

This is especially challenging when it’s faster and more efficient to just step up and do things yourself. It’s easier for you to make the decisions, do the work, check the work, follow up on the work, etc. However, it’s this situation that prevents young companies from scaling to the next level.

Ask More Questions

I work really hard every day to be quieter. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail so dismally that I actually do more damage than good. You see, I like to talk. I like to hear other people talk and I like to bash around ideas until they become something bigger, something better and something that can move from idea into action.

Related: Your Leadership Journey Starts Now… And Go!

Coupled with liking to talk, I also like being right. Who doesn’t? Add onto these two things the fact that I like to read and research and then throw in a teeny bit of ego or pride and it’s a recipe for leadership disaster.

If I am the most well-read, loudest and most opinionated person in a meeting then all that happens is that I end up pitching an idea, getting everyone to agree with this idea and then assigning the work on the idea to become a reality. Basically, I am working with, for and amongst myself. It’s an echo chamber that leads to bad ideas surviving and an unhappy team leaving.

The Collective Is More Intelligent Than the Individual

As a leader and founder, you probably feel like you are the person with the best understanding of the problem you are trying to solve and the best person to solve the problem. This can lead to a dictatorial approach to leadership, team inclusion and problem solving. You have an idea, you tell your team and they do what you tell them.

If this is how you do it then I have to ask you a simple question: Why did you hire smart people? Just so you could tell them what to do? If that’s the case rather hire capable but cheap people, not the best.

Your best people are there to help you scale your business beyond your own thinking and time. There are a set amount of hours in the day. There are only so many emails you can answer in your day.

A good example in my business is customer support. We pride ourselves in our impeccable customer service online and offline. I can’t physically answer every question posed by customers but I can hire incredible colleagues, entrust them with my vision and views on our customers and then trust them to go out and use their good judgement.

Work With The Best

Here’s the kicker to being a good leader: You need to work with the best people.

This is not something I say as a passing statement. I want you to stop reading right now and think about the ten people you interact with at your company every day. Are they the best people you could be working with? If not, why not? How do you find the best people and bring them into your business? Go and do that.

Related: You’re The Boss, So Be The Boss

It’s important to work with the best for two very simple reasons.

Working with the best people pushes you to be better. If you are literally the smartest person in the room in every aspect of your business it means that you are surrounded by subpar players and you are not learning anything. The people around you are meant to educate you and push your business into places you didn’t even know were there.

Second, working with the best people attracts other incredible people. If you have a business full of average team members, can you guess what kind of people they pull towards your business? More average or less than average people. Why? Because average people don’t want to be surrounded by incredible people. If they are, they look worse and not better.

It’s incredibly difficult to be a good leader all of the time. In fact, it’s close to impossible. What you can do is try to be a leader who communicates, learns and grows with your team in an open manner.

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All The Business Wisdom You Need From 4 Famous Entrepreneurs

Combine the knowledge of the greatest entrepreneurs with your own hard earned lessons.

Brian Hamilton

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There’s a lot of deification of entrepreneur “personalities.” The truth is that a few entrepreneurs, in my opinion, are probably luckier than good. But, some of the praise and deification is warranted. There have been some fantastic business leaders in this country, and one can learn a ton from studying them. Below, I’ve compiled a list of the four entrepreneurs who have taught me the most over the years.

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