Retaining Great Talent

We hear all the time that attracting and retaining great employees is too expensive and too time consuming. Yes, it is expensive and time consuming, but it is a lot cheaper than hiring a bad employee.

The logic behind this is bad employees cost a lot more than great employees. Bad employees don’t treat customers well and in many cases those customers never return. Even worse; those customers tell their family and friends about their bad experience with your employee. Bad employees don’t treat co-workers well, oftentimes co-workers are required to pick up the bad employee’s slack, which can result in a  lack of desire for their work, resulting in decreased productivity.  Bad employees always leave a bigger mess when they leave unexpectedly 6 months later, making an extra job you must pay someone to clean up. The result is you could be forced to hire someone quickly and make the same mistake repeatedly.

The good news, except for a few bad apples, is that these bad employees usually are not bad people. You can work with them and end up with a great employee and an improved place to work.  Why do this?  Because great employees create huge profit margin in their organizations and employees don’t leave great places to work for better pay or benefits down the street. If you create this culture you will immediately begin to reduce employee turnover and reduce disengaged employees.

Great employees stay at great places to work because they are part of something larger than themselves and they have input into this greater cause. This is more powerful than generous pay plans, PTO and benefits packages.

Here are three ways to begin to build this culture at your company.

  • Give employees autonomy and responsibility for making decisions. Historically, we see businesses making decisions at the top of the organization, even though all the information is at the bottom.. Try pushing some decisions down to where all the information is. Start small. For example: start with giving employees authority and accountability to make decisions regarding customer interactions. Hint: if your employees know why you’re in business this will be an easy task for them and they will exceed your expectations.
  • Allow your employees to give their input on business decisions. One way to do this is to ask them. For example: the owner conducts lunch with lower level organizational employees to ask their opinion and glean operational information. Try it once a month with a handful of employees and watch what happens to their attitude towards work. This is a great opportunity to not only allow them to give their input, but instill in employees the values of your company.

Change their pay plans or their bonus structure to include compensation for coming up with cost savings or revenue generating ideas. Very few cost containment ideas come from executive managers or think tanks, these ideas come from operational expertise—It comes from people who know the mundane task in and out. Incentivize employees to tell you about their ideas on how to improve your internal processes. This can be done through a bonus, recognition, etc. Additionally, allocate employees time to always include time for this type of work. One rule of thumb is 10% of employees time should be spent to improve and document cost saving ideas. The information you want and need to take your company to the next level is currently already at your company, go get it!

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