October 25, 2022

A Great Way To Retain Your Employees

By Paul Bieber

As an owner or manager, have you ever sat back and thought that the departure of a productive employee is a positive thing for your company?

“Good riddance,” you’d say as they left. “They are leaving anyway. Heck with it, let ’em go.”

If so, you never deserved to keep that employee in the first place. The correct thought is: “What can I do to retain my great workers?”

I never thought I would be saying this so strongly, but you need to treat people not as workers but as people with whom you happen to work with.

A little history on me: I ran the largest glass fabricator in the Eastern U.S. We had about 250 employees. Thirty years ago, the management style was for the senior management to distance itself from its employees. This way, if someone quit or was fired, it wasn’t a problem for the “big guys.”

The trend today is to embrace the team, down to the lowest rung. The more you treat your employees with respect, the better they will become and the harder they will work.

Keep a list on your desk or on your phone of everyone’s birthday. On that day, walk out and give a big “Happy Birthday” to this person. Hand them a $25 gift card to a local restaurant. Spend three minutes asking how they are doing.

In your phone, have a list of each employee and the names of their family members. Ask about each one. Know one thing about each employee’s favorite team and ask how that team is doing. Make conversation.

Tell them about any future jobs coming up. Let them know that you’re making sure there is plenty of work in the pipeline. Mention any new equipment coming in or a new truck or computer system. Let them know that they are part of the team and vital to the company.

This alone won’t keep people, of course. You have to offer good benefits and current wages. But all employers are doing that now. You can differentiate yourself by being aware that your people need some humanity in their jobs.

An extra related note from the poet Robert Frost: “A diplomat is a person who always remembers another’s birthday but never remembers their age.”

Another quote that I heard, which is good for every time you pick up a phone and call anyone about anything, is to “smile while you dial.”