How the market place has changed! We are now fighting to keep all our positions filled with the best employees. Sometimes we win and maintain low turnover for a period of time, and other times all we seem to do is conduct interviews and train new employees.
Although there is no magic bullet to completely solve the war over retaining and motivating employees, there are some easy steps that can help us all reduce costly turnover. My experience in leadership roles at Aramark Corp., as a recruiter to the vending industry, and current chief operating officer of SuperPro Vending Group has taught me to take an aggressive role in keeping and developing our employees.
There are so many things to do. Where do we start? The most important consideration is our attitude toward our employees. We all know that vending is a people business. Just as we need to have people who like to serve the customer, we need our people to like working for us.
The first question we need to ask ourselves is, do our employees like working for us? Think about this carefully. If you can't answer "yes," you need to consider what changes to make. This might even require hiring some professional consulting. It will be an investment well worthwhile.
We can say, "If they don't like my management style, they can find another company to work for. This is who I am." This is outdated thinking.
Unfortunately for many businesses (and many employees), it remains the attitude of many employers. This was the mentality of many companies that were managed by people who entered the work force following military service.
It was also an era when the job market was more of a "buyer's market": there were more people looking for work than jobs available. The reverse of today's situation.
What would your employees say about you?
My guess is your battle with turnover is a constant war. Legendary Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz has spoken on this topic for years regarding managing and coaching people. If someone asked your employees if their employer cared about them, what would they say?
In the book, Contented Cows Give Better Milk, workplace experts and authors Bill Catlette and Richard Hadden state, "It's no accident that organizations consistently identified as winners also happen to be some of the best places on earth to work. This occurs not as an afterthought, but as a vital, premeditated element of business strategy."
Let's face it, the cost of turnover can kill us. Consider the cost and time you spend on recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training, retraining, and of course the lack of production while the positions remain open. This cost can vary, but it can easily be over $5,000 to 10,000 or more, depending on the time spent with employees.
What do they really want from us?
In personal research with employees who have resigned, I found that money was often not the first reason for quitting. Listed below are the three qualities employees seek in a position:
- Meaningful work -- feeling proud of their work
- High standards -- being on a winning company team
- Feeling needed -- feeling that you care about them
Hiring practices is a subject unto itself. An excellent article appeared in the April 2006 issue of Automatic Merchandiser by hiring consultant James Bassett.
Hiring is a big part of creating a successful work environment. When you have the right employees in place, it is much easier to motivate them. But it is not the end of the task.
We need to create a workplace that rewards and encourages. Each employee has something that motivates him or her. Our job is to find out what that is for each employee, or what I like to call a team member. One way to do this is to spend time with our employees, one on one. Get to know them, their history, family and goals.
So much of our time is spent at work and running our businesses. Imagine if we could create an environment that fosters fun while achieving results. What an enhancement!