Your business is only ever going to be as good as your employees. Whether you like it or not, you are in a war for talent, which you need to win. With the economy improving, the previous minimal rates of resignations are about to change and people with more confidence and more employability will start to look to move.

The people part of your culture equation starts with hiring people who either share your core values or possess the willingness and ability to embrace those values. That’s why the greatest firms in the world also have some of the most stringent recruiting policies. One study found applicants who were a cultural fit would accept a 7% lower salary and departments with cultural alignment had 30% less turnover. People stick with cultures they like and bringing on the right culture carriers reinforces the culture a business already has.

Here are some ingredients to consider:

The package: When it comes to keeping staff happy and engaged, the most obvious place to start is by paying competitively. Know what your competitors are paying and where you sit in the range.

Reward and recognition: Beyond the base package, to attract and retain the best team you can afford you need to consider reward and recognition. There are many forms of reward and recognition and it is a useful exercise to find out what employees value so that you can meet these desires. Not all of these programs are costly (believe it or not, compensation typically lands about fourth in the list of reasons for leaving an organisation).

And here are some examples of ways to reward your team:

Pay rise – Most small businesses have a very haphazard approach to pay rises and very few seem to review annually. Performance-related increases are a great way to encourage greater productivity.

Bonus – A discretionary cash bonus is a great way to instantly reward a result or behaviour.

Awards – This is a great way to publicly acknowledge behaviours that you wish to encourage.

Spontaneous awards – Think about a Red Balloon or an iTunes voucher, depending on your employee demographic.

Praise or a simple thank you – A smile, praise or a simple thank you costs nothing but it can make an incredible difference.

Flexibility – If a team has been working really hard, give them Friday afternoon off.

13th month of pay – At holiday time, pay a discretionary 13th month of pay.

Promotion – Many employees aspire to progress in their career and work their way up the ranks.

Company property – Some employees love gadgets and to be in possession of the latest mobile phone technology or iPad can be a thrill.

Share plan or profit sharing – These are both great ideas but have significant tax implications, so it’s best to speak to your accountant about this one.

Innovation time – imagine what gifting your employees time to think, create, improve and counter might do for your business.

These are just some ideas, but feel free to get creative. Ask your team what would make them love coming to work even more?