Even though we are facing difficult economic times and unemployment is over 10% (according to Nick), employee loyalty and retention must be uppermost in the management philosophy of the small business owner. Employees that are dedicated to the owner, their work and workplace will help grow your business with enthusiasm and pride.
Let’s consider several steps in getting and maintaining employee loyalty.
- First is the interview process. There is a saying that the first person that talks loses, when interviewing someone encourage the prospective employee to do the talking. Ask questions that require an answer, other than yes or no. It is more important that you find out about a prospective employee’s goals, values, enthusiasm, and general philosophy on life. With that information you can now determine if that is someone you may want to pursue. The hiring process is so critical to a small business that the owner should be prepared for the interview with questions and should take brief notes to highlight important facts. Allow at least an hour for an interview. If the listening part of the interview is good, then you can share you dreams and goals and how they fulfill the prospective employees needs. If the first part doesn’t go well, you can cut short the interview.
- No matter what kind of an office you have, it must create a “wow” factor in the mind of the prospective employee. Money is not necessarily the answer, your attitude and that of other staff is important. If your office has a feeling of comfort and business that also will help. Color and flowers and paintings, etc, can help dress an office. Look at your office and ask yourself, “what does this office convey about our values and priorities?”
- Once the “hire” is made, spend time with the new employee, make sure that he understands his job responsibilities and how they tie in with your overall goals for the firm.
- Most people don’t exist well in a vacuum; meet and discuss issues with your employees at least once a week. Their input is very valuable so take time to listen.
Always be honest and fair with your staff, even about financial issues. Make your work place an ongoing learning center and a “fun” place to come to.
The key to your impact as a leader is our own sincerity. Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself believe.