The Keys to Keeping your KEY People

As we emerge back into the light and businesses address the huge changes and challenges in markets across the board, one of the factors that will determine the success or failure of companies is their ability to keep their best or ‘key’ people.

These are the people who have a great attitude and the right values, understand what your business is all about, can see the main advantages that your product / service offers, know the market and competitors, achieve what you ask of them for your business, they get things done without fuss… in other words…

‘The people who keep your business in business’

If ever there was a time to hold on to your key personnel, it is now! But how to do that, given that really good people will continue to be in demand as many businesses look for the things that can take them forward? Your competitors will be watching.

It’s not just about the money – in fact a lot of the time it isn’t the money at all. To provide an example, a few months ago we had just started working with a new client when they received a shock resignation from someone they considered as ‘key’ – the Finance Director immediately said ‘we can’t afford to lose her, we should immediately increase her salary’. This is not an untypical response from an SME and is completely wrong on many counts – What message does it send out to the resigning person and others? Where is the credibility for the increase? How do you know that money is the reason for the resignation? What happens if another key person resigns?

‘Knee jerk’ responses like this are not the answer but an understanding of why a key person (if they are a true performer) is looking to leave is essential. Manage people better and you will find that staff turnover (from those who you want to retain) will be minimised. It is worth investing in ideas and techniques to help  because losing someone of value and trying to replace them can be an expensive and frustrating experience and might just slow you down at a time when you cannot afford it.

Here are a few pointers that will help you keep your key people:

  • Know what it is that keeps the key people with you – the environment, culture, job satisfaction, work colleagues, flexibility of hours etc. – know the answers to this
  • Make it your business to understand the individual and the reasons why they, specifically, work for you and stay. For good people it’s not usually about the money. If you are doing your job properly you should be paying market value to your good people anyway – top people want to work in a progressive and pleasant environment where they feel valued and respected – money is always secondary to the best people
  • Let the values and attitudes of your people be your guide – what they are is far more important than what they know. Find and hold on to people with the right attitude, mindset and values – not simply experience.
  • Hire people (when necessary) who you will want to keep – this is an important step in building the type of culture that makes good people want to stay with you, think of the cultural fit
  • Show them you value them by investing in them – your good people often want to develop themselves and their abilities/ skills, they would like to do it with you but do you invest in their training? Training people sends out a clear message to the individual – ‘you are worth this investment by us.’ Think about it and once training has taken place allow the employee the opportunity to implement what they have learned and see your business improve!

If you want some help in retaining your better people and strengthening your position get in touch with us at, or call on 0116 232 5231

Alternatively, contact me directly at the points below:

07747 023610

David Turner

Managing Director