Is ‘culture’ really the key to growth and retention of staff???

(11 /03 /2015)

I recently raised the issue of staff retention and what companies need to do to keep their best staff.  I talked about large companies like Google and Ikea and the working environments they provided to their staff.  However, when I looked into these companies, I found that the key to retaining staff is to make them feel that they had some “ownership” and felt empowered to provide input into how the business was operated.  Staff invest much into a business and need to be treated as “part-owners” to some degree.

So while this is very important, there is another factor which is very important when it comes to developing a business that retains staff – culture.  I recently read an article written by one of the founders of Nimble and was really happy to discover that establishing the “right” culture was the secret to fast growth.

So what is the “right” culture?  It’s not just about creating a “cool” workplace or providing a fully stocked drinks fridge.  Culture is about establishing a set of values and living them so that everything from your product to the people selling your product, drive growth.  The guys at Nimble said that by applying keen discipline, humility, rigour, empathy, attention to detail and following through with their intentions, laid the foundations for their company culture – a culture which enabled fast company growth and strong staff retention.

The Nimble culture is based around five key points, all of which can be applied in your hospitality business.  Not surprisingly, their number one point is to invest in your people.  You need a team that believes in your mission and is dedicated to reaching goals quickly.  And to keep that team motivated, staff need to be happy and healthy.  Talk to your staff and think about what you can do to achieve this – perhaps offer the opportunity to buy extra annual leave or a paid gym membership or even simply a free meal on their birthday.  These “perks” don’t have to be expensive but they can go a long way to keeping staff happy.

As a manager, you need to listen and take action.  As I have already talked about in a previous blog, you need to communicate with your staff and keep the dialogue a two-way street.  Implement staff surveys, hold regular staff meetings to discuss how things are travelling and take on board new ideas.  Inspire innovation by collaborating with your staff and talking about how the business can be improved rather than making decisions without staff involvement.  This might be as simple as changing things up in the kitchen so that service is more efficient or perhaps asking staff what menu changes could be made to generate higher customer satisfaction.

Make sure your team is made of the right stuff!  You want people who are strong and willing to work through the tough times and don’t require fancy titles or self-gratification.  Your staff needs to fit within your culture so make sure you employ people who share your values and are dedicated to growing your company.

Finally, don’t sell out!  Keep your culture alive, stay grounded, have some fun.  Surprise your staff with a party or perhaps a fully stocked drinks trolley following service and you will be sure to keep your people excited and motivated to grow your business.

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