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Small business playbook aims to help operators retain and develop staff

January 24, 2017  By Ground Water Canada

Ottawa – The Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling has published a softcover book to help small and medium-sized operators engage and develop staff to grow their businesses.

Entitled Retain and Gain: Career Management for Small Business, this action-oriented playbook enables small business owners and entrepreneurs to use career management as a strategic lever for stronger company performance, CERIC said in a news release.

The need for this Playbook was identified in a CERIC-commissioned Environics National Survey (2014) that examined the state of Career Development in the Canadian Workplace. “We discovered that 71% of employers said they have responsibilities for employee career management, however, only 29% felt they were doing anything about it,” said Riz Ibrahim, executive director of CERIC. “With SMEs employing fully 90% of Canada’s private sector workforce, career management is a critical, and often misunderstood, issue.”


Career management not only brings employee satisfaction and loyalty, it also drives better customer service, improvement in business operations and an increase in opportunity for growth. “During our research we found that owners and managers believe they have the knowledge and skills to be better career advisors. What they needed was the gift of time and proven tools that fit into their everyday schedule,” said Lisa Taylor, the Playbook author, who is a workforce expert and a small business owner herself as president of Challenge Factory.

In research conducted for the book, Taylor found the following issues keep business owners awake at night:

  • 83 per cent worried about engaging and retaining employees
  • 66.7 per cent indicated finding the right talent and recruitment was a challenge
  • 61.1 per cent were concerned about developing new leadership candidates and managers

“Another key concern voiced by small business owners was how to provide career development for employees in flat organizations with limited resources and few chances for promotion,” Taylor said.

Retain and Gain also provides more than 40 tips, activities and actions that owners and managers can take immediately; research, facts and statistics that shed new light on Canada’s small business economy and workforce; and special sections on new graduates, aging workers and family businesses.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce supported the development of the Playbook along with “Knowledge Champions” TD Bank; The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education, Ryerson University; Laval University; and The CFO Centre.

Retain and Gain: Career Management for Small Business has received positive advance reviews from a range of small business groups, including Futurpreneur, Family Enterprise Xchange and Startup Canada. “The Retain and Gain Playbook is a foundational guide for every entrepreneur and small business owner to attract and retain a successful team through focusing on employee career development and smart planning,” said Victoria Lennox, co-founder and CEO of Startup Canada.

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