Retaining your best employees

As you know for the good part of November 2022 till early December 2022, the family business committee within the Malta Chamber of Commerce together with the Family Business office ran a survey with various family businesses. One element that emerged clearly is that across the various types of businesses that make family businesses, there was always one top priority that was constant for almost all family businesses – retaining their present labour force.

This is understandable, especially when considered within the reality of the present tight labour market.

However, the real question is whether businesses are doing enough to make sure that they retain their best employees. The same survey has shown that when it came to “training and re-skilling employees in skills related to leadership and communication” this was listed as a 7th priority, behind other priorities related to financial performance, organisational structuring and digitalisation.

I believe this speaks volumes. While businesses have realised the importance of retaining their best employees and the cost of employee turnover, they have failed to realise what they need to effectively do to increase their employee retention levels.

As the old adage goes, people leave managers not businesses. Yet many businesses still fail to see the importance of making leaders out of their managers. This is why middle & line managers are so important (I covered this in one of my last Blog articles named “Train your managers“). Leadership is made of so many elements – active listening, emotional intelligence, empathy, building trust etc…. These are all elements that are so important to build attachment and loyalty by employees to the business that employs them.

Reading various books and listening to various talks from Simon Sinek, there is one element that is so insightful. Today employees look to find more than just a job from a company and this is especially true for younger employees. Employees look to find a sense of belonging, a sense of community, a sense of purpose, sense of personal growth – all from their place of work. This was not so a few decades ago when people lived more in a wider sense of a community, whilst today the only community people have outside their family is that at their place of work. So any business that wants to retain their best employees, needs to provide much more than a job, a title and a fair wage. Companies need to provide a level of engagement, growth, a sense of community and a purpose that goes beyond a healthy balance sheet.

I consider any expense at having your employees and your managers trained in what I consider as being core skills related to leadership, as the best investment that any business can do in being able to adapt to whatever happens in the present turbulent external environment. Most probable such an investment has also an extremely short payback period, as we all know the elevated costs of employee turnover.

So I hope that as a business leader,your top priority for 2023 is in having your managers and employees become true leaders.

P.S. The full results of the family business survey will be presented during an event to be held on the 1st February, 2023 (morning). I strongly advise all business leaders in family businesses and SMEs to attend this insightful event. Further details will be made public very soon.

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