It’s Just Business: Employee retention

In the April 29 Tacoma Weekly article “Local entrepreneur talks about the quandary of hiring,” I discussed my three-tier hiring procedure that has worked out rather well for me despite the difficulties of finding quality people to hire. Granted, it’s not a perfect system but I can say that it has allowed me to find some top-notch employees over the years. I received some nice feedback from other entrepreneurs on that article and now I’d like to revisit it and talk about another aspect of attracting good people – how to hang on to them.

A high turnover of employees is not only expensive for your business; it looks bad when customers come in and there’s someone new at the counter every time. This sends negative messages to customers and their first thought could be that there is something ineffective with the management and/or that employees are not well treated. A high employee turnover also prevents customers from forming solid, long-term working relationships with your employees, missing an opportunity for that personal touch that keeps customers coming back.

Employee retention is a two-way street, the responsibility of both the employer and employee. For the employer, you must offer room for advancement and keep an eye on your employees’ performance to find out which ones are worthy of promotions or raises. Another important thing you must offer is training. Oftentimes it seems that employers expect people from the workforce to come into the job already trained but in reality, you as the employer have to put in training hours and train your people to how you want them to be. And I’m not talking about giving them a two-hour lecture then turning them loose on the sales floor. I’m talking about day-to-day, hands-on training that gives employees the tools to do their job the way you expect it to be done because you have modeled that behavior for them. Staying involved with your workers and clearly communicating your expectations to them are key.

For the employee, you must stand out among your peers – to go that extra mile at every opportunity to show that your heart is in your work and that your mind is as well. There are numerous ways of doing this, starting simply with arriving to work and getting there a few minutes early to show that you are ready to get busy. You know how some of my best people got a job and got promoted? They just showed up. They were there on time, they were consistent and they went above and beyond everyone else in their areas of expertise. They never complained and they did their job to the best of their ability – in fact, they stretched and grew their abilities because they learned from their job. When your boss asks you to do something, be the type of worker that says, “I can,” not “I can’t.” Be the best. Show up on time and work harder than your counterparts because if you don’t, someone else will. This is how you get noticed and become an employee that your employer wants to hang on to.

A book I highly recommend is “The 10X Rule” by Grant Cardone. He does a great job of explaining why some people fail and others succeed, which basically depends on not behaving like everybody else and not settling for average results. This certainly has worked for me as an employer. I haven’t fired anyone in so long that I can’t remember the last time I did it, and I have people who have worked for me for more than a decade.

Employers and employees alike can reach their common goals when they work together – all it takes is commitment and a desire to not settle for mediocrity.