It seems more often than not, owners and operators worry more about the bottom line than they do about what drives it. We all know that our “people” are our greatest asset. But how do most employees get treated? In all actuality, we should be treating our employees better than we treat our members and be focused on employee retention. Happy employees = happy members = happy shareholders.
Let me share six strategies that have worked for us:
- Great Leadership: It starts and stops, with you. If you are in charge of employees today, you need to gain their trust, respect and loyalty. You will need to be honest and transparent, humble and kind, and care for their every need. Micro-managing doesn’t work — it’s a thing of the past. Instead empower your people, keep an open door, be approachable, listen and build your own team of great leaders.
- Hire Great People: We hire people with good character, integrity, huge hearts and positive attitudes. Most of our associates come to us from referrals, either from other associates, or our members, and this works for us. We look for the right fit in culture, skills/talents and position, and if it’s not there, we make a change. We rarely have to advertise for new hires — we have great people waiting to get their foot in the door.
- Culture/Environment: We have created an environment of friendliness, respect, trust and support. Our core values and service standards have helped guide our expectations. Over time we have been fortunate enough to create a unique culture, one of caring, support and giving back to those less fortunate.
- Relationships: As human beings we are naturally social creatures, so we crave friendship and positive interactions, just as we do food and water. So it makes sense that the better our relationships are at work, the happier and more productive we’re going to be. We are all about relationships and socialization, not only with our members, but with our staff and those we do business with. People don’t quit long-term relationships easily. Sometimes we don’t even look at competitors, there’s that much trust.
- Offering Meaningful Work: Meaningful work is something everyone wants. Employees’ today desire jobs with a purpose they can identify with. They want to know that they’re making an impact. We have been fortunate enough to offer associates a sense of pride and purpose through our community outreach programs such as: Project Walk, Adopt-a-Family, Living Well After Cancer and Pediatric Cancer Program.
- Employer Branding: We are becoming well-known for the good that we do for others in our community. People want to work and do business with people who believe what they believe. We try and make every experience unforgettable and use our business to love, serve and build up others.
The bottom line: Replacing an employee can cost from 30 to 200 percent of annual salary, depending on their level. So if 15 percent of your “critical” people are leaving, what would the cost be? With this in mind, make employee retention a priority as soon as possible.
Tracy Stepp is the director of human possibilities at The Claremont Club. For more information email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.