Relocating — but how can we keep our staff?

Incentives can be offered to maintain morale
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Our company is relocating to London from a surrounding county. Should I offer incentives to staff so that they stay at the company?

It’s easy to see why businesses flock to the capital. But if you’re based outside London, moving often creates myriad challenges.

The biggest and probably the most critical issue you face is losing staff — the people who know the brand, service or product inside out and are invested in the growth and prosperity of your business.

The value of these employees and the virtue of continuity should not be underestimated, which is why incentives are a good way to ensure that you retain your valuable staff. The simplest approach is to provide a purely financial benefit, but there are other options that reflect the significant upheaval involved in moving away from home, demonstrating an understanding of the needs of loyal staff.

For example, a relaxed policy on working from home will allow employees to spend the odd day with their families if they haven’t relocated. You could also offer travelcards, or travelcard loans to soften the blow for those who face significant transport costs.

You could offer an allowance to cover removal costs. You can also welcome employees to the new city by organising social events that will help them get to know it. Research relevant networking events that will help staff to hit the ground running.

Incentives should only be offered to individuals that can help you take your business to the next level. You want to be surrounded by those who are committed to helping you succeed and are excited about a new challenge for the business — just as much as you are.

Moving is a huge undertaking for any business, but managed correctly you will take with you a team of motivated individuals who are driven to make the organisation a success.

Rich Preece is vice-president and UK country manager at Intuit QuickBooks, a global online accounting software company

Growing pains for a start-up

My company is growing really fast, but how do I ensure the influx of employees does not have a negative impact on the culture and ideals of the business?

Typically, start-ups are very agile so employees have the autonomy to act and make decisions quickly. Often when companies grow, more procedures are put in place but this doesn’t mean the decision-making process needs to slow down. To maintain a start-up culture it’s vital to remain agile and continue to act in a fast and decisive way, however quickly the business grows.

When employed by a start-up, it’s common to be goal-driven and feel united in working towards a common objective. Later in the company’s life, staff may start to feel their contribution is less significant so it’s crucial to keep the common goal in everyone’s minds so employees feel appreciated.

Businesses of all sizes need to continue encouraging innovation in all its forms. It’s important to motivate employees to contribute and recommend new techniques or technologies for the company. It makes employees feel valued and helps the business to evolve.

One of the privileges that start-ups enjoy is being able to hire individuals that they want to work with, whereas arguably in most corporate settings, few people can choose their colleagues. This provides businesses with the opportunity to hire people both for diversity of thought as well as people that they genuinely enjoy being around. It’s no secret that people work harder when they work around people they enjoy spending time with.

Regardless of how quickly a business may grow, it’s vital for senior staff to stay close to all employees and develop a rapport with them all on an individual level. This could mean anything from sitting everyone together in an open plan office to arranging regular social events to get to know people outside of a work environment.

When it comes to growing pains, the biggest challenge that growing businesses encounter is the issue of employees not developing with the company. Some people outgrow the company and the company outgrows some people. Evolving from a start-up with eight employees into a global company changes the game for some people, but also gives businesses the opportunity to bring in a different type of talent.

In a hyper-growth phase, friction may develop when employees who have been hired at different stages of the company’s development are not pulling together for the good of the business. Every company has its veterans and its rookies, and it’s crucial to find a way to get them working seamlessly together to help the business to move forward without compromising its culture.

AJ Forsythe is founder and chief executive of iCracked, an electronics company

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