When is an Incentive not an Incentive?

As a business owner we strive to build a winning team. However, we often come under pressure when we lose key members of staff or have a track record of high turnover of staff. This is when we start to ask ourselves what could we have done differently?

What does Sir Richard Branson really mean when he says “train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to?”

This comes down to understanding your staff, what motivates them, what path they are on and asking yourself what is your strategy when recruiting them in the first place (what type of person are you looking for)?

There is a significant cost associated with recruiting people, training them and making them intrinsic to your business. The last thing we want is for them to leave but of course we want them to be the very best they can be whilst in our employment.

Everyone has their touch points as to what motivates them and this can also be a reflection of which stage of life they are at. What is important to reflect on is the type of individual you want in your business, their behaviour traits (DiSC) that will give them more of a chance to be successful in their role and working with others around them and someone who ‘believes in what you believe’ in the words of Simon Sinek.

If you have failed to retain great staff or have a high turnover of staff generally, perhaps you need to question your recruitment policy and also the way you perceive incentives and rewards, or the lack of!

Incentives come in many shapes and sizes. One size does not fit all! Performance related pay can be very motivating but not for everyone and can often be a short term motivator. Others require smaller financial rewards at regular intervals to demonstrate recognition from their manager. Sir Richard Branson believes that creating a workforce who are highly skilled and trained and empowered to do their job is hugely satisfying for the type of individual Virgin seek to employ. Training, providing responsibility and empowerment are important but equally this needs to be combined with other financial rewards, incentives and perks available on merit or even as standard to all employees.

Ask yourself when was the last time you held a performance review with your staff… Do you really understand what motives them? What are their career aspirations? Are you working hard enough to make their role exciting and rewarding and the workplace somewhere they don’t want to leave?

If you are looking for examples, your TAB Board is a great place to ask what best practice exists. Learn from others and tailor for your business to develop a strategy that incentivises everyone, not just the few.