How do you increase your agency’s likelihood of survival and success?
According to savvy entrepreneur Dan Schulman (CEO of PayPal):
– Squawk Fund (@SquawkCNBC) July 13, 2021
Mr. Schulman made that statement last year; However, it is not a new concept.
Almost 20 years ago, Anne Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox (from LifeCare® Inc.’s Life Event Management Conference, 2003), said,
“Employees are a company’s greatest asset – they are your competitive advantage.”
Strong teams make for strong businesses, so knowing how to acquire and retain great talent is critical to a company’s survival and prosperity.
The tips below will help you foster a culture that turns your employees into your company’s greatest asset.
1. Appropriate talent for employees
Making sure you have the right players on your team is the foundation of a strong workforce. The following philosophies about hiring will help arm you with the right people.
You are what you hire
Ten years ago, my wife and I declared a no-go grocery budget to slash because few things affect a family’s health more than what you eat.
Just like food is not a great place to save money in the family, employment is not a great place to save money in an organization. Within reason, prevent cost from affecting your hiring decisions.
Think of payroll like an investor. Higher salaries will lead to greater gains in productivity and retention.
Hire people because they are good at what they do and will complement your culture, not because the price is right.
Correct bad hiring decisions quickly
Allowing the wrong people to remain on staff is unfair to all the right people, as they inevitably find themselves making up for the wrong people’s shortcomings.
From the book by Jim Collins, Good to Great (2001):
It’s also unfair to that wrong person every minute you let them go when you know they won’t in the end; You are stealing a part of his life, time that he could spend finding a better place to thrive.
Making a bad hiring choice is inevitable. The key is to rectify the situation right away.
You will have the essential ingredients for a strong workforce if you have the right people on your team.
2. Avoid secondary language
Ensuring that your great talent has no reason to leave starts with the way you see it.
If you are using a rating system, make sure the hierarchy is limited to how you organize your team versus how you deal with them.
The way you talk about and address your co-workers will influence the way you think and treat them.
The people who work at Oxbird are my employees. However, this is not how I refer to our team. I have employees who work with me and I refer to them as colleagues, not employees.
“Boss” isn’t part of my slang either.
To be clear, I’m not strictly referring to workplace slang. I am referring to the philosophy that influences the way you think and refer to your employees in any context, for example, staff meetings, a friend’s birthday party, etc.
Production should be driven by individuals who are passionate about their team’s performance, not dictated by the organizational structure.
The more reliable you are, the less influence you have, while the more influential you are, the less reliable you need to be.
Eliminate dependency from your mindset, and you’ll help foster a productive team culture.
3. Personal meeting
I can’t stress this point enough in this age of sparse teams.
My favorite time of the working year is our company summit. Zoom calls are great, but the most advanced video technology can’t keep your teammates there.
Just writing about our times together motivates me as I remember greeting colleagues in person for the first time in a while. I often meet new employees in person for the first time, too.
Priceless camaraderie is not the only important benefit of these times together.
A business pinnacle can be a legitimate employee benefit if you opt for an impressive estate and some fine dining. Our team lives like royalty for a few days, enjoying accommodations that some might not otherwise experience.
Meeting in person at least once a year can cement relationships and mess up your team.
4. Offer compelling benefits
Companies have to be creative to offer persuasive perks, especially when not offering health-related benefits, ie Class leading benefits.
Enter Unlimited PTO. Imagine the freedom of a head covering-free vacation. Consider the level of trust between employee and employer required to pull this off effectively.
Consider how it feels to say, “As often as I want,” when asked, “How much vacation time do you get?”
Is there a better fit for your organization than unlimited PTO? Do you already provide some form of health care?
My goal is not to advocate for a particular benefit; Instead, the main takeaway is to ensure your team has some exciting perks, which may require creativity.
5. Proactively increase wages
As far as possible with you, never lose a great employee to a company you are willing to pay more for.
Why does the army give generous bonuses to soldiers who remain in service? Because hiring and training new employees is much more expensive than increasing the salaries of existing employees.
Most importantly, proactive raises are an effective way to express your appreciation for your employees. While there are many other ways to express value, none are more compelling than this.
At one point our white label (pay per click) agency proactively raised salaries annually; However, we now do this semi-annually.
Semi-annual and proactive pay increases help team members avoid long periods of self-doubt.
To insure against entitlement culture, be careful not to formalize wage increases in policies. Ideally, these raises are organic (versus formal) and align with performance and gratitude highlights.
Pay increases are where you’re at if you want to.”raising the morals, Motivating employees, making sure employees feel rewarded and appreciated.”
6. Carry out notes
Note that I did not say solicit feedback. Required feedback is powerless without execution. Not all comments can be implemented, but some can and should be.
Few disciplines communicate care better than listening, and few practices demonstrate listening better than implementation.
Don’t forget to mark implementation moments to ensure your team connects the dots between input and change.
Implementing Notes announces, “We’re listening!”
7. Take care
Everything up to this point could easily be brought under the idea of sponsorship. Here are additional, practical ways to think twice about your teammates.
- Ensure that employees take time off.
- Call people when there is a family emergency.
- Explicitly provide the benefit of the doubt during performance concerns.
- Giving fired employees an opportunity to resign in exchange for termination of service.
- Learn about important days such as work anniversaries and birthdays.
- Take the time to highlight exemplary behavior.
- Provide an extra bonus during heavy workloads.
- Prioritize disrespectful work environments over revenue by firing unhappy customers.
If your teammates are so well qualified and know you care about them, why would they leave?
If you’re looking for a way to boost your competitive advantage, look no further than Your Workforce.
Both of the business leaders mentioned above (Dan Schulman and Ann Mulcahy) have more in common in their view of employees as a competitive advantage: Both have led the historic turnarounds and profitability of their organizations.
Xerox went from near bankruptcy to a famous American technology giant, and PayPal turned from a dinosaur in Silicon Valley into one of the world’s leading technology companies.
Enhance your workforce by constantly enhancing the value of your team members, and you will strengthen your brand.
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