People Are Your Greatest Asset
The most essential part of managing and growing any business is the importance of employees within the organization. People are the greatest asset in a business, period. If ownership and leadership do not understand the meaning and value of each person, the problem starts at the top.
I was offended whenever I heard someone in management or staff say something derogatory or belittling about a position or person, such as peon, grunt, gopher or worse. It is important for the organization’s leadership to never do this, nor condone this type of behavior. When creating organizational charts, always be sensitive to the placement and naming of subordinate positions. Just as important is that the leadership throughout the organization should be willing, able, and open to doing menial jobs wherever needed. There should not be a hierarchy or an I’m-better-than-you mentality. A humble and grateful approach with leadership’s desire and ability to work alongside at every position, when needed. We participated annually in a large home show, which unfortunately was over the Thanksgiving weekend. I would be there working alongside the sales and support teams to set up, work the event, and even stay for tear-down. It isn’t words that create a “we” culture, it is the actions of the leadership. People see and respond accordingly.
Every Role Is Important
Most sales organizations tend to view the top performers and leaders as the most important staff members. They are not. Just go on a job site with your installation crew manager and crawl into a new construction third-story attic in a Texas summer. You quickly get a good perspective on which positions and people make the business happen. The sales guys are in air-conditioned trucks, or offices. I held total admiration for our installers, delivery staff and support people. In fact, as the president of the company, I took time to go out periodically with our warehouse and delivery guys on a personal level for drinks and to play pool. I cared for them, and I made sure they knew it. The management team throughout the company did as well. It is the little gestures you routinely do that let ordinary positions know how vital and important they are. We shared sales trips with the warehouse and tech managers, shared gifts received from vendors to delivery and installer staff, as well as the sales teams.
Whenever employees and the company’s leadership understand that those they work for are truly concerned about their work environment, conditions, and needs, trust and loyalty is established and will radiate throughout the entire organization.
The way to retain your people is by maintaining a culture that appreciates, recognizes, and grows its people. It is important to constantly grow your staff members’ abilities and technical strengths by constantly training and providing opportunities to stimulate their intellect and skill set. A person not performing well in one position is a possible overachiever in another role. Don’t be so quick to throw in the towel and replace people you’ve already spent time and money on. Learn your people, their passions, and abilities.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Last but certainly not least, is to stay in constant communications with your staff. It takes time, but ask about their families and what is going on with them periodically. People work for people. It is important to stay connected with your people. As I shared in an earlier blog, I have had many competitors trying to allure our employees and managers away. We were blessed to retain them and their loyalty.
The cost of losing staff, hiring new staff, training new hires, and repeating the process over again is significant. The importance of developing and maintaining a “people-“we”-culture” is more than essential, it is also profitable.