How can businesses retain talent?

1. Make work fun

This may come as a shock but studies have shown happy workers are more productive than miserable staff. They are also less likely to leave. Not only that but they become great ambassadors for the company telling everyone they know just how cool their workplace is.

Companies such as Google, Apple and Facebook have all traded on their image as hip places to work with astonishing success.

You may not be a technology giant but that doesn’t mean your office can’t be cool too. There are limits though: a pinball table is ok as long as the staff don’t play on it all day. Remember you still have clients to keep happy.

2. Invest in your staff

Good team members will show an interest in your business. Nurture that and they will help you to grow. Training providers offer some great deals at the moment so there are no excuses for not investing in your best people.

3. Free, tea, coffee and biscuits

This is such a simple thing to offer and it doesn’t cost very much at all but it’s amazing how many firms charge their staff for basic refreshments such as tea and coffee. If you push the boat out and invest in some chocolate biscuits they will love you forever.

4. Extra paid leave

Reward long serving staff with extra annual leave when they reach milestones such as five, 10, 15 and 20 years with the company. As their experience grows they should become more and more useful to your organisation and so little overall productivity should be lost. In fact the gains from having happy, motivated staff will easily outweigh the days lost to the company.

5. Help with parking / transport to and from work

Free workplace parking is a big plus for employees but is not always easy for businesses in London. If you can’t provide it think about helping out with Oyster cards or encouraging a cycle to work scheme.

6. Take the team out

You spend a lot of time with these people but most of it is probably spent heads down working to deadlines for clients. As a business leader you should make time to take the team out at least twice a year – once at Christmas and once in the summer. Team building paintball sessions are optional but at least stand them a few drinks to let them know you value them.

7. Introduce a pension scheme

Every business no matter how small will soon have a legal obligation to roll out a pension scheme for employees. Don’t wait for the legal deadline – get yours set up early and let the staff know you are looking out for their long-term good.

8. Mark life events

Getting married or having a baby are amongst the most important events in anyone’s lives so if this happens to someone in your team make sure you mark it for them with a generous display of your affection.

For example, don’t just send a bottle of Moet to the wedding venue – make it a case. It might cost a couple of hundred quid but gestures like that buy loyalty much more than annual bonuses ever can.

9. Childcare vouchers

Juggling childcare is likely to be one of the major issues facing your employees. Make it easier for them by offering a workplace child care voucher scheme to help them save up to £1000 a year.

10. Eye care vouchers

Help with eye care is the most popular healthcare benefit offered by UK businesses. Office staff spend a huge amount of time staring at a computer screen and offering employees vouchers they can redeem against optician’s costs will definitely catch their eye.