How to motivate talent in times of fast business growth

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Four people having a business meeting to illustrate how to motivate talent

Whether your business is at the high-growth stage or not, says Sheetal Gill, how can you motivate employees to perform at their best for business success?

When small businesses experience a period of rapid growth, most leaders tend to focus on the customer’s needs. This is the crucial stage of the company’s journey when they are at risk of losing their top talent to competitors.

This is normally because employees are working really hard but do not understand why or cannot see the opportunity for career development or contribute to business decisions. It’s at this stage that they start looking at what the job market has to offer, or are approached by savvy competitors who can motivate them. The more disconnected employees are from the business vision, the more likely they are to move on.

If this risk is not identified and addressed then the implications of losing talent to competitors means remaining employees may face being overworked, additional recruitment costs and time spent replacing staff, which all affect the service and product delivery to the client. It could also potentially impact your employer branding.

While the scaling up period can be challenging and stressful for businesses, a small investment in how employees can be part of the journey can mean a better end result. Here are four simple ways to achieve this.

1 Communication

Openly discuss with employees key changes, the impact on the business and more importantly how their role contributes to the bigger picture. This helps them to understand how they impact and add value to the business vision. It gives a sense of purpose and direction.

2 Employee contribution

Ask employees for their input as this helps to engage, motivate and encourage them to take responsibility for business success. It also helps the business be more creative with solutions and takes the pressure off management to find the solutions. It’s not always possible to implement every idea, but if the business rationale is shared with employees then they are more than likely to understand.

3 Projects

One of the key reasons an employee moves on is the lack of career growth opportunities. While this is a challenging issue to balance when a business is growing fast, it’s not impossible with some project planning. Giving an employee or a team an additional project to work through allows for creativity and engagement outside the daily tasks and job role.

4 Celebrate success

It is too easy to move to the next task without stopping to celebrate successes along the way. A simple thank you ­– whether via email or in a staff meeting, a financial bonus or after-work drinks ­– can go a long way in employees feeling acknowledged for their contribution. It also helps to create a positive team-working culture, and retains and motivates staff during challenging and stressful times.

Advances in technology mean it is easy for customers and employees to share public feedback on businesses. Fast-growing businesses need to manage this to remain a competitive employer and brand.

About author

Sheetal Gill

Sheetal Gill

Sheetal Gill is a human resources business partner and a chartered member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development who had over 10 years' senior HR and business experience before forming her own consultancy business. She currently provides HR consulting, strategy and coaching for start-up businesses and established business leaders.

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