In case you missed this article by Ben Fewtrell of MaxMyProfit in our November/December issue.

Staff retention is one of the biggest challenges in what has become a feral labour market. Ben Fewtrell shares best practice to help you keep your team together.

There’s nothing worse than a staff shortage. Not only do you have to deal with the loss of productivity, but finding skilled and experienced staff members to fill those gaps is a challenge. Add in the current economic climate and you’ve got a recipe for a real staffing disaster. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the best ways to keep your staff happy, engaged, and motivated in these difficult times.

Competitive benefits

One of the most obvious ways to keep your staff engaged is to offer competitive pay and benefits. While some may think that this is a costly exercise, it is far more expensive to lose valuable employees than to invest in their salaries and benefits. The cost of finding new staff will almost always out way the cost of keeping the ones you have.

When setting salaries, make sure that it’s competitive in the market, and that you offer benefits that other shops are unlikely to match. These could be paid time off, recognition and rewards, wellness programs such as gym membership and clear pathways for promotions within the company.

Some repairers have already moved to a four day work week and have seen a huge improvement in employee morale and increased productivity and profitability to support the initiative. (Listen to episode 103 of the Paint and Panel podcast with Iain Kippen.)

Opportunities for Growth

By investing in your employees’ growth and development, you’ll not only retain staff but also develop valuable skills and expertise in your business.

Talk to your team about what they would like to learn, and where they see themselves growing within the company. Ask them about their career aspirations and the skills they’d like to acquire or improve. This will not only show that you value their input, but also help you align your development opportunities with their interests and goals.

Also, remember that growth doesn’t always mean climbing the ladder. Some employees might be more interested in expanding their skill set horizontally, learning different aspects of the business, or deepening their knowledge in a particular area.

Positive Work Culture

A positive work culture goes a long way in retaining staff. Create an environment that rewards excellence, encourages teamwork, and fosters creativity. Provide support and recognition to your employees who go above and beyond and celebrate successes together. When employees feel valued and appreciated, they’re more likely to stay with your business in the long run.

People love to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and will find it hard to leave a team that feels like a family. Build a culture of respect, trust, and open communication. Encourage collaboration and idea sharing, and make sure everyone feels heard and their opinions valued.

Promote work-life balance by respecting personal time, offering flexible work hours where possible, and understanding that employees have commitments outside of work. This will not only boost morale but also reduce burnout and turnover.

Additionally, encourage social activities that help build relationships among team members. Finally, lead by example. As a leader, your attitude and behaviour set the tone for the entire company. Exhibit the values you want to see in your team, be transparent, and show empathy.

Streamline Processes

To keep your staff longer, consider streamlining processes that maximise efficiency. This could be investing in technology, software, automation, and training staff in lean and agile methodologies. Making your business more efficient not only keeps your staff engaged but also makes your business more profitable.

There are a lot of tools and resources available to you that will make your team’s life easier. While spending money on some of these may seem like a luxury, consider how it will make doing the job easier, and in turn making the job more enjoyable.

Emphasise clear communication and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy. Simplify procedures and workflows, remove redundant steps, and ensure that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities. This will reduce confusion, increase productivity, and enhance job satisfaction.

Also, don’t forget to solicit feedback from your team. They’re the ones on the front lines, and they may have valuable insights into where inefficiencies lie and how processes can be improved.


Clear and transparent communication is key in retaining staff. Make sure that your staff are informed of what’s happening in the business to avoid confusion and anxiety. Listen to feedback, suggestions, and grievances from your employees and take action accordingly. By communicating effectively, you’ll create a sense of trust and openness amongst your staff, ensuring that they feel valued and supported.

This could be as simple as holding regular team meetings where you share important updates, discuss challenges, and celebrate successes. You could also implement an open-door policy, encouraging employees to voice their thoughts and concerns directly to management without fear of reprisal.

Communication should also be a two-way street. Encourage feedback from your team and act on it. When employees see that their input can lead to real changes, they’ll feel more invested in the company and its success.

While dealing with a staff shortage is never easy, it’s not an impossible task. By the strategies discussed you can retain valuable employees. Make sure that you create an environment where your staff feel valued, appreciated, and supported, and watch as the productivity and profitability of your business soars.

It is far more expensive to lose valuable employees than to invest in their salaries and benefits.

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