Employment rates are at the highest point they have been in a long time, and whilst this is a positive step forward, it also opens more potential job posts with less competition. With this in mind, the question playing on many business owners mind is – How can I work to retain valuable employees and avoid losing them to the competition? Employers work hard to attract the right talent into their companies, but sometimes lose sight of how important it is to build strategies that increase loyalty amongst their employees, ensuring the likelihood that their business retains their biggest asset. Remember, when employees feel fulfilled within their roles, they are more likely to go the extra mile to help the organisation, share their knowledge and expertise and facilitate positive workplace morale, all of which serve to build a more effective and efficient work environment. Encourage decision-making Whilst management are there to oversee workplace proceedings, providing employees with a sense of autonomy and control will help them feel as though their employers trust them and value the insight and knowledge they bring to the organisation. Trust is a basic component for any relationship. Within the workplace, it allows for a less rigid form of management, increased productivity and a higher degree of employee morale. The freedom to make decisions can range from giving an employee an opportunity to take charge on a project, to enabling a certain amount of flexibility with regards to workplace structure and working hours (within reason). Create the opportunity for growth Evolution is a fact of life, which also extends itself into the workplace. Growth and development at work is something that every employee looks for at certain points in their career. Realistically, how can employers expect an employee to stay with them long-term if the individual’s role never changes progresses? Employers can inspire loyalty in their workforce by setting out a plan for each employee, checking in with them regularly to monitor how they are finding their job and whether the path they are on relates to where they see their career heading. Showing an interest in the career path of your employees and providing them support in achieving their goals, will make them more likely to stay with your company, building a prosperous future for themselves and the business. Provide recognition Whether you are a small or larger organisation, your employees do not want to be seen as a number on your payroll. Providing recognition for the work and value employees bring to the company is a great method to keep them motivated and engaged at work, which in turn helps build a strong sense of loyalty. It is important to note, however, that recognition should not only come from more senior members, but also from employees’ peers. When a project has been completed successfully or an employees work lands a new client or customer, celebrate this by publically praising an individual for their contribution. Equally you could provide employees with small tokens of appreciation from an extra day’s holiday to a free lunch. Appreciation and recognition go a long way to building an authentic employer-employee relationship that will pay dividends in creating a strong and loyal workforce.