Today, investing in reliable, qualified employees for your business’s team is paramount. Once you’ve recruited, hired, and onboarded the right employee, it’s easy to become complacent among the flurry of tasks that bog down your management team’s day to day schedules.
In this blog post, we will reference two companies to help drive my point home. Let’s say our office dog, Wes, starts a dog walking company, while his friend Dwight starts a similar, competing business.
Keeping your employee base well developed is a key factor in maintaining high retention rates down the road. Engage your employees with consistent opportunities to grow and develop, and you will see tangible results in terms of productivity, improved work ethic, and better cohesion across teams over time.
Let’s look at our two dog walking competitors: Wes sends his new employees to dog walking university, seminars, and networking events to improve their skills and work ethic. As a result, his company thrives over time. They bring in more business, create more sales, and maintain a higher retention rate.
Dwight, on the other hand, cannot seem to take a leaf out of his counterpart’s book. He spends ample time hiring and onboarding but neglects a regular invest in employee engagement or learning and development. His employees feel burned out, lack motivation, have a skewed work-life balance, and are considering leaving his company to go to Wes, who they know will treat them better.
Companies like Facebook, Deloitte, Netflix, and Google may have risen to the top of the food chain largely due to their technology, but their reputations as AAA companies can be largely attributed to their respective company cultures.
In our situation, Dwight’s company has developed a less than stellar reputation amongst his team, their friends, family, and extended social network. As reviews are posted to Glassdoor, Dwight has fewer job seekers applying for his dog walking positions. Furthermore, his existing employees, including business development representatives and account managers, are quickly leaving his company. Dwight experiences high turnover, increased recruiting and retention costs, and a poor industry reputation. Wes’s employees, on the other hand, are at happy hour down the street celebrating their most profitable quarter yet!
A Customized Approach
Although it’s important to consider highly driven individuals who can lead the team in learning and development during your hiring process, it’s impossible to get the right fit every time. When it comes to encouraging your team to grow through various development opportunities, consider the personalities and learning styles of each team member. Mary on your sales team will flourish by attending professional development and networking events, while those on other teams may benefit from a class or seminar that focuses on a particular skillset.
By customizing your approach, you can optimize and engage each member of your team(s) accordingly, proving to your employees that you value their contributions to your company, as well as their own professional development.
Consider taking part in the same professional development opportunities you encourage your employees to take. It will mean more to your team if you are “down in the trenches” with them. Employees may be less willing to pursue endeavors such as these if their supervisors aren’t willing to develop either. This leads to a larger gap between management and the rest of your team, which may contribute toward feelings of resentment amongst your staff.
This level of equal participation can help develop a stronger working relationship outside of the normal workday, which in turn energizes and motivates everyone to challenge themselves and each other. This is also a great way to hold everyone accountable to themselves to grow personally and professionally, and can also create a better sense of professional community if everyone in the organization is growing together.
Dwight learned his lesson and began all new onboarding and engagement processes that systematically improved his retention over time. His productivity increased, margins raised, and reputation changed for the better.
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