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Too many times our companies are so focused on delivering great value to our customers (and we should be) but we forget to give that same value to our employees
The reason this came to mind is that I was with my family recently at Hershey Park in Pennsylvania. I was learning about Milton Hershey and his philanthropic nature. He and his wife could not have children so he built an orphanage to help. He also created a trust so that it owned the company and eventually the resort so that it would always be funded. The building is now a school for underprivileged children and those in need. What inspired me the most was how he felt that if he took care of his employees and gave them a good lifestyle, they would be more productive.
There are examples today of great places to work, but in the case of most companies, we need to ask ourselves: do we look at our employees as something we nurture or as something that is replaceable?
Take a look at your employees as if you would a garden. If you feed and water the plants and make sure the weeds are taken out, they will grow.
Are we feeding them with training to make them better, are we mentoring them and making sure they are growing correctly? Are we weeding out bad habits or obstacles that could inhibit growth?
I looked at my own company and it is not always easy, so I am not saying that I am perfect. But I have committed to doing these following steps that you can use as a starting point to help your team grow.
We have quick staff meetings each Monday and Friday to communicate what we have going on, new developments, updates and recognition.
One of the biggest things employees find important, based on multiple surveys, is being kept in the loop.
Department heads and team leaders have time set aside time for training. Anyone can attend, even if it is not your department, because I want people to learn what others do. I think it helps with communication and team cohesiveness if you understand what another person does each day.
We let people know of our new opportunities or positions and work to fill these roles internally when we can. Bringing people up internally helps because they already know the culture and shows that if hard work is applied, new challenges can be met.
Now this one is tricky because everyone is still stuck in the mentality of the Boss/Employee roles. I am not naive to think that everyone will come running into my office, but being available and out on the floor breaks down the barrier and gets you out from behind the desk. I think of it as walking through the garden and seeing how things are going.
Leaders need to get out from behind their desks and see the impact of their efforts. If you want to keep your people, invest in them. Put in the time and effort to make things grow.