Can I inspire loyalty without giving equity away?

I am considering ways to encourage staff to stay with the business and looking at benefits in general. I have a few senior staff I really want to keep and junior members who could well grow into senior roles. How can I do this without giving away equity? Also, are there ways to only keep good staff, not the annoying ones?

A. Stephen Bentley writes:

Building a good team starts with recruitment. You need to look at the attitudes you want from people right from the start, which will give you a better chance of having a long-term relationship. Team structure is so important, and you need to work on those that have a positive dynamic. It’s not all about outstanding individuals, but people who complement each other and are successful and productive as a unit. 

Remember that some things are more important to people than money. Investing time in personal development and wellbeing, and ensuring communications between employees and the business are open and reassuring – all very important at the moment as people are worried about losing their jobs – can often have more of an impact than cash incentives. We find that mentoring from managers and leaders within the business works very well. Positive feedback and guidance, emphasising career development, is such a catalyst for motivation, not to mention injecting some spirit and ambition into the business.   

Try to make their jobs enjoyable and varied. We ensure that all our staff work on different projects from day to day, to prevent their work feeling stagnant, which usually leads to lack of interest and often resentment.    

If you do decide to give bonuses, give them around Christmas. Our financial year runs to a calendar year, so that we can give our staff bonuses when they need them most. Showing that kind of appreciation of what they do at a time when they need it is a gesture that is not likely to be forgotten in a hurry.   

You have to make a commitment to your staff. With the right salary, day-to-day variety, mentoring and career opportunities you should be able to build a great team with a high level of productivity. If these things are put into place, those that aren’t right for the job will fall by the wayside, as it will be clear that they aren’t performing to the standard of the team. When you can quickly identify if someone is unhappy or not pulling their weight, it’s easier to tackle the problem.



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