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THE GOLDEN RULE OF RETAINING QUALITY EMPLOYEES

So if you’re like every other business right now you are probably having issues with retaining quality employees.  “Quiet Quitting” is most definitely a thing.  So what do we do as small or medium business owners?  When a team member quits, the hits come much harder on our bottom line than big corporations that have deeper pockets, dedicated HR departments, dedicated recruiting systems in place, and benefit packages!  How do we compete against that?

Well my friends….first know that you can’t control all of the circumstances and we can’t compete.  It is not feasible for us to “compete” with the big corporations nor honestly is it meant for us to.  As small to medium size businesses we have a niche all of our own that helps to attract the right people for us.  There are those that thrive in big corporate environments, sometimes they like blending in and not standing out, sometimes they love the opportunity to climb the big ladder.  And hey, that’s awesome!  But what about those that want something else out of their career.  We are smaller which means usually each one of our employees is a huge integral part of our operation, there is more of a family feel to our operation that makes people feel more accepted, more a part of a team.  This is a HUGE attraction for a lot of qualified people!  The downside is if they leave, that is a huge hole to fill and has a much bigger impact on our operations than bigger corporations with more people that can step in and fill the duties.  So, what can we do then if we aren’t meant to compete with the big corporations?  

Follow the Golden Rule to retain your employees…

And what is this Golden Rule?  Why, it’s the age old Golden Rule we have all heard of for us to follow in life: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  Simple as that.  

So wait…how in the world does that help you?  Well let me explain!

For a moment, take yourself out of your entrepreneur shoes and think back to when you last worked for someone.  What are some of the things you didn’t like about working for someone?  Or think back to a time in your life that perhaps friends or family didn’t treat you as you thought you deserve to be treated.  It didn’t feel very good, did it?  You probably felt powerless to fix it, or in some cases made to feel bad if you spoke up against it right?  

Well, there are several reasons that people are “Quietly Quitting” nowadays but all of them can be boiled down to the simple fact that they do not perceive they are being treated fairly, they feel unseen, and they don’t feel fulfilled.  People want to feel like they are a part of something.  They want to feel valued and important.  It is oftentimes one of the first things we as entrepreneurs overlook as our businesses grow and our teams grow.  We are sucked into the daily grind and operations and our focus is on business growth. While we may appreciate our employees and their contributions we often forget to ask ourselves every day; “Am I really showing my team what they mean to me and my business?”.  

So what exactly can we do?  Well there are several things that we can do and put in place to take all the steps in our power to create and retain our quality teams.  

  1. Put yourself in their shoes

Take a moment to try to think about things from an employee point of view.  What would you want to see, hear, receive on a daily basis to be seen and heard.  This can be super difficult as an owner because we are passionate about our business on a daily basis and may not be able to objectively look at how employees feel.  This is our blood, sweat, tears we have poured into this business.  Can’t everyone see what we already do for them?  While we may think they do, it may not be as obvious as you think it is.  Try to take the emotion out of analyzing this from an employee point of view.  Even reach out to a trusted resource/third party to ask them their opinions on what you offer employees and their thoughts.  Be open-minded to their response.

  1. Say Thank You often

Thank each and every person you work with every day!  It can be as simple as a greeting/thank you as you pass in the hallway.  A quick personal email letting someone know you see them and all the hard work they do. A handwritten note to brighten someone’s day and say how much what they do has contributed to things.  Everyone to the janitor, to the VP’s deserves and appreciates hearing thank you.  Have you ever been angry at anyone that is genuinely thanking you for something?  Probably not.  It makes you feel appreciated.  It makes you feel good inside.  It makes you feel important and an integral part of things right?  So why not do this for each and every person who works for you or works with you?  

  1. Take time for coffee chats

Take time to meet with each person on your team regularly. Maybe once a month or every other month depending on the size of your team.  Not just for a performance review….let’s face it….the stigmas surrounding “performance reviews” are horrible.  Bosses hate writing them and employees hate receiving them.  Everyone feels like they need to be on the defensive. The trick is to regularly meet with employees but change the stigma and narrative around it.  Don’t label it a performance review.  While it is important to have performance reviews with employees so there is a clear understanding of how you perceive their performance and how they can improve, making sure to touch base in between these reviews on a personal level can be incredibly helpful. Just touch base and have a casual and open conversation with them to see how they are doing and feeling both personally and professionally.  Take them to a coffee shop for a coffee break or meet for a snack in the breakroom. Talk to them about what is going on in their life (we all know personal issues can bleed over into work life)?  Remember they are people too with lives.  Truly get to know them. You don’t have to be friends but you are a team and should know your team. Ask how things are going with their job?  Most importantly ask what you can do for them to help them.  Invite an open conversation with them where they feel free to share with you without fear of recourse or consequence.

  1. Analyze your benefit package

Do a comprehensive review of your benefits package.  What benefits are you offering?  Besides health care, retirement, etc what other perks and incentives do you offer?  What benefits are important to your employees?  Honestly the only way to know is actually to ask them.  What would they like to see?  Do they need a bit more flexibility with work from home/in office schedules?  Do they need different, better equipment/work set-ups to be more productive?  Are you offering retirement savings options/future security?  Do you have additional benefits as a benefit of long term employment?  It can be difficult to afford comprehensive benefit packages, especially as small to medium size businesses but it is incredibly important to offer what you can and offer what matters to your employees.  Let’s face it, sometimes companies offer a ton of benefits that mean nothing to most of us.  Take a poll, and see what matters in the life of your employees.  It may be as simple as more flexible work structure, flexible PTO, etc.  Things that if implemented properly can actually increase your bottom line with little to no additional cost for you.  Who wouldn’t want to offer their employees what they desire all while increasing productivity and ultimately profits, right?

Bottom line.  Always think of how you would want to be treated if you were in your employee’s shoes.  Each and every time you face a decision that will affect any of your team members, keep in mind their needs and wellbeing.  And above all other things be genuine in these efforts.  Nothing is worse than those trying to do any or all of the above things but are not genuine about it or just going through the motions.  That won’t engender any loyalty at all from your team. While this doesn’t mean that we will be able to retain every single person that ever works for us as there are circumstances we can’t control, what this will do is create a much more inclusive, open, respectful, environment that people feel comfortable and eager to work in. What would give you the warm and fuzzies working for someone?  Ask yourself that question and create those things/environment for your team.

Even after all of this you may feel as if your team just doesn’t appreciate all you do for them.  And in some cases that is correct.  Or it could be they just don’t have a full understanding of everything that you do.  While we can’t please everyone, what we can do is offer what we feel is right and just and will make the members of your team feel part of that team and truly appreciated.  Your environment won’t be for everyone and we will still get those that don’t appreciate it and just want to take, take, take.  Take a step back and gracefully let them leave.  While it may cause issues and holes to fill, in the end they were not the right fit for your team and it’s time to move on and find the right fit.

Having been in your shoes following the above on a regular basis without getting distracted is incredibly hard sometimes.  Knowing when to get help with this feat is incredibly important.  This may come in the form of working with the person on your team responsible for HR issues to come up with a plan to address these things on a regular basis.  This could come in the form of putting reminders in your calendar.  But this could also come with getting the right outside analysis and help.  Sometimes the best viewpoints can come from a third party to take a bird’s eye view of your team and what you have to offer.  Know that there are people out there that can help you take close looks at these items and other operational items in your organization and give you the advice and solutions you need.

If you are interested in learning more about the golden rule of retaining quality employees with expert help, I would love to speak with you! Schedule a call here!

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