Good help is hard to find, and as a result, your role as an employer has changed. As a “boss,” it’s not enough to throw out a few orders and sign checks. Instead, you must create a work environment and culture that new employees will latch onto and value. Rarely are you going to find good help; you must create good help.
In an issue of the Harvard Business Journal last year, one economist encouraged employers to re-invent the “social fiber” within their workplace. His research indicated that employee loyalty was most closely linked to this key element. This social fiber revolves around making the workplace a home where employees feel like family. Do not take this notion lightly. While fair salaries, decent vehicles and clean hats are basic necessities, they do not cultivate employee loyalty. Employees need to take pride in their work and feel responsible for the welfare of their company. They need to know each other as friends and not just as co-workers. Most importantly, employers need to be role models and counselors.
Management also must take care of the appearance and functionality of its facilities. Glass shops should be clean, organized and efficient. I can tell from one block away how high the morale is within a store location just by its appearance. And when morale is low, everyone is looking for a new job while on your clock. In addition to maintaining a great looking place to conduct business, personalize it. Did you ever consider hanging some pictures of the employees around the building? How about creating a dressing area with lockers or closets for personal storage? Consider adding a television to a nicely decorated lunchroom. How about painting each person’s name on his or her parking spot? One really hot idea is to put the technician’s name on his or her truck. Or, one of my personal pet peeves, how about providing a coffee maker that doesn’t look like it has soaked in the bottom of the La Brea tar pits for 10 years?
To create a family environment, management must bring employees together for more than just safety or business-related meetings. Have everyone bring in a dish for a potluck lunch next Friday. Celebrate birthdays with a personalized cake. One example of how powerful this can be involves a large company that recently hired an executive vice president. One of the employees asked another if he had developed an opinion of the new boss. Although he had not yet spent any time with the vice president, the employee replied that he thought his new boss was absolutely phenomenal. The reason was he had received a signed birthday card that included personalized, handwritten remarks of thanks and best wishes.
Get back into the swing of social functions, and remember they don’t need to be expensive or jeopardize the liability of the company.
Be a role model
Employees come from a variety of backgrounds, and such diversity requires a diverse approach in training and coaching. “Everyone wants to be a winner,” says Phil Crosby, the great guru of the quality-improvement process. “The problem is that they don’t have enough role models to follow in helping them achieve their goal.”
Employers need to be willing to be more to their employees than just the boss. Ethical guidelines do not hinder employers from showing genuine interest in the personal welfare of their employees. It’s the little things that count, and taking the time to thank each person for his or her contribution can have an enormous impact.
Employee training usually revolves around organizational topics pertaining to how employees can complete their assigned jobs. I encourage employers to teach employees how to be great people as well. This form of training creates lasting bonds. Topics can include timeliness, dependability, reliability, self-confidence, pride, ethics and professionalism.
Attracting good employees
All of the above will help you attract good employees. When you give your staff and company this type of attention, word travels like wildfire. Just as word-of-mouth is the greatest form of advertising, so is it the greatest employment agency. The best employees work for the best companies, and great employees bring more great employees. Keep in mind, the best companies do not necessarily offer the biggest salaries. While big salaries will attract new people, they will not make them stay. Competing employers can easily match or exceed such offers. To save big money, start spending big time doing some big things for your people and facility.