Expert Advice for Your Business: Keeping Good People

What are some of the biggest challenges you face growing and managing your business?
Following a busy summer, we talked to Jenny Vargas of Vargas Family Roofing & Exteriors Inc. and she had this honest experience to share:

“We are struggling with finding and retaining employees with the work ethic, vision, and passion needed to succeed in this business. We want to be a great place to work while providing excellent quality workmanship. We pay our employees a high wage and treat them honestly and fairly.”

And who can’t relate to this challenge? Vargas Roofing is facing the same basic challenge that every employer of any size faces daily – namely, to attract, develop, and retain the right people to support business success.

Jenny’s comment drills down to the core of the issue. What kind of culture are you creating in your organization? You can put values and principles into a mission statement and hang it on the office wall, but how do you get people to honour and follow those values in the course of your daily business?
Certainly treating people honestly and fairly is a good start. This develops trust between you and your people, but to set yourself apart from other employers you need to do more. According to The Carrot Principle, a recent Gallup poll found that nearly two-thirds of employees received no praise or recognition in the workplace in the past year (Gostick and Elton, 53).

People are yearning for recognition. It’s meaningful to be a part of something where your talents, commitment, and hard work are recognized fairly and consistently. And recognition is one of the easiest and most important ways to retain talent, with the added benefit of accelerating performance. But in order to be effective, recognition needs to be specific, meaningful, and fair.

A simple pat on the back is meaningless and easy to write off as favouritism until directly tied to a specific accomplishment or result. Of course, withholding recognition or being inconsistent alienates your all-stars and reinforces the mediocre behaviour of average and poor performers.

In a healthy culture, you have lots of successes to recognize and celebrate. So how do you recognize your staff “fairly” to give meaning to the work they do?
Simple. Sit down with your team and identify the top one, two, or three behaviours or results that drive your business success and agree to recognize achievements associated with them.  Then track, measure, and recognize the attainment of success.

Recognition doesn’t need to be complicated. It can range from a simple coffee card to a grand prize, a night out to an employee-of-the-month award. You can highlight one rock star or you can make it a friendly first-, second-, and third-place prize competition to recognize various levels of achievement for a set of goals.

Make it a game. Make it fun. Make it meaningful.

Effectively recognizing your employees will not only help you keep good people, it will help you develop them to support your business success. Your employees will thank you. And so will your customers.



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