Staff retention can be a taxing issue

Staff retention can be a taxing issue

For this reason, January is typically crunch time for online agents. If they have been making hay throughout the year they will inevitably be hit with a large tax bill and, if they haven’t been squirrelling away the money to pay it, may find themselves coming unstuck.
Conversely, for online agents who have been struggling to make self-employment viable, a huge tax liability may be the trigger that sends them back into the comfortable world of PAYE and security of a regular monthly pay cheque.
Of course, staff retention should be a concern for employers year-round, not just in January. But particularly at this precarious time of year, any business that relies on a largely self-employed workforce needs to focus on making it personnelly worthwhile to stay. If they do not, we are likely to see the market flooded with job-seeking refugees from the online set-ups in the first quarter of 2017.

Staff retention can be a taxing issue.

Here are some things business owners can do to lock in their contractors and staff:

  • Offer a personnel stake in your business – This could take the form of shares, a profit-sharing scheme, bonus pool or share option plan that allows members of your team to buy shares at a discounted price. They will be more committed if they ‘have skin in the game’.
  • Competitive rate of pay – It may sound obvious but the rates you pay should be in line with market rates and reflect your employee or contractor’s skills, experience and the work you expect them to do. While self-employed workers don’t have the advantage of benefits such as holiday or sick pay, it costs nothing to recognise someone’s efforts. Showing appreciation by feel-good gestures such as a guaranteed parking space for the week’s top performer or a simple congratulatory email can mean a lot.
  • Motivational programme – More relevant for employees than self-employed workers. Team activity days, nights out and overseas incentive trips are always popular morale-boosters but a structured year-round recognition programme will usually result in greater longer-term benefits. Peer-to-peer recognition where workers are empowered to thank a colleague has the dual benefit of not only making the recipient feel appreciated but also making the person who nominated them feel good too. But, whichever way you choose to do it, having a system that recognises individual contributions is vital.
  • Celebrate long service milestones – Even if in the property business we tend to be talking about two years rather than 25.
  • Career prospects – Create opportunities for career progression and ensure each individual has a personal career development plan so they do not feel trapped in their current role.
  • Foster a healthy work/life balance – While you may be willing to work all hours – it’s your business, after all – such unstinting devotion should not be expected of your workforce. For a healthy workplace environment, set clear performance targets and be realistic about workload expectations. Where practical, allow flexible working practices such as the opportunity to work remotely or different hours on certain days.

Staff retention can be a taxing issue