Attracting and retaining quality staff

Five proven ways to attract, and keep, great team members
Marc Gordon
November 05, 2019
By Marc Gordon
According to one Gallup poll, 50 percent of employees leave their job because of their bosses. However other studies have shown that employees can leave for a number of other reasons, such as opportunity, better pay, or more responsibility.

Regardless, attracting and retaining quality staff is not only good for the bottom line, it’s good for customer service. Here are five ways to best attract and retain great staff.

• Be a coach, not a dictator. We all know being a manager is not an elected position. Maybe that’s why so many managers are prone to bark orders and rely on negative reinforcement. Instead, become a coach. Team coaches are still the boss, but understand that like athletes, staff need to be instructed, encouraged, praised, appreciated, and when necessary, disciplined. The key is to prioritize your energy towards the positive tasks first.

• Be flexible — to a point. Regardless of what some bosses think, employees do not live to work. They have lives outside of the company. A sick parent, a dentist appointment, or a child’s class field trip can all conflict with a pre-set work schedule. Setting policies that give freedom within established boundaries can reduce stress and allow staff to better focus on their jobs when at the office.

• Understand the job. Managers often have a hard time understanding what employees go through on a daily basis, especially if it’s a job they’ve never held themselves. Being yelled at by customers, meeting tight deadlines, hard physical labour — these can all impact mood and productivity. Understanding how daily tasks can affect staff well-being will result in more empathetic and thoughtful bosses.

• Be a problem solver. Managers need to understand that they and their staff are all on the same team. And anyone who feels part of a team naturally wants to contribute more. Helping staff solve work related problems not only reduces down time, it can present opportunities for ineffective processes and procedures to be updated.

• Empower others. An employee who is not sure what they are allowed to say, will always say no. This can result in angry customers, lost sales, or missed opportunities. Staff that are empowered to make decisions within a framework of guidelines will usually make the right ones. Empowerment will also lead to pride and ownership of their positions. Two traits that employees will likely not want to give up.  

Marc Gordon is a recognized marketing expert, speaker and strategist. His articles appear in over 200 publications worldwide. Visit or his online show at for more business tips. This article was originally published in Bakers Journal, a sister publication of PrintAction at Annex Business Media, and was also published in the November 2019 issue of PrintAction, now available online.

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