How to keep your best people

There is no clear end date to the current crisis and your business is suffering from Coviditis. The only thing that seems certain to you is that when the world returns to the new normal, you’ll be requiring your best staff to be still with you and ready to go again, but how are you going to achieve this?

If you’ve ever made sourdough bread you’ll know that you require a starter. No starter, no bread. Good bakers treasure their starters because they’ve had them for years and the taste and quality of their sourdough bread is determined by the quality of their starter.
It seems to me that your best staff are like a starter. What does a baker do to maintain their starter and how does this apply to you?

  1. Tend to it every day: It makes sense to remember that your best staff give you the least problems and therefore deserve the majority of your time. Use the 80/20 rule and divide your time and attention accordingly. Let your most important staff know that they are important to you by paying attention to them.
  2. Feed it daily with quality flour: As the baker remembers to take care of their starter each day, so a good manager should adopt the same habit. Keep them informed by feeding them with all of the pertinent information to give them confidence in the business and belief that it will still be around at the end of the crisis.
  3. Use it in every loaf: A sourdough loaf requires the use of the starter in every loaf. Involve your best staff in every aspect of your business and let them see that their involvement is critical to you and the continuation of the business.
  4. The starter works on the flour and water to swell the dough: Recognise that the input and involvement of your best staff will grow your business and do the heavy lifting for you. Don’t try to do it all yourself, your best staff will want to be involved in keeping your business going.
  5. The future of a bakery relies on the starter remaining healthy: Take care of your best staff, talk to them, involve them in planning the future, remember to tell them that you value them and will always want them in the business.
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