Growing your business is great, right? Yes, but every organization struggles as the company evolves. As a business grows from a single person startup about to hire its first employee to a team of 5—then 10, 20, 50—new challenges arise. People are the heart of any service business, so taking those individual hires and building them into a high -performing team that drives growth and can scale with your company is the key to any organization’s success.
Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, said it best: “Train your employees so much that anybody can pay them double the salary of what you are giving.” It’s a common fear that training employees is simply setting them up to leave. I’d argue the alternative is more based in reality—if you don’t invest in your employees, they WILL leave. Train your team members constantly, invest in their growth, make them feel like they are part of a community. Then, in order to retain them, treat them well, show them “love,” and build a culture that makes them want to stay.
When I say “love” I don’t mean the get married kind, even though there are many successful husband and wife MSP teams—wink, wink. What I mean by love is that personal interaction and commitment to getting to know your team. Learn about them beyond their work skills—what do they like to do on weekends, what are their likes and dislikes, understand what’s happening in their family, and uncover their dreams and goals. Be present, show them you care, help them when they need it, and you will not just have an employee, but you will build a community. Our team is an extension of our family—they know they can be honest and open with us, and share stress or concerns in both their work and personal life so we can support them when they need that extra attention.
The second part of employee “love” comes from your organizational culture. Culture isn’t just a trendy “it” word, it is THE WORD that every organization must address, creating a process of interaction and transparency that will scale. When we say culture, it’s not a pool table in the office or flex hours, it’s who and what your organization stands for. Culture is how we treat our people, our tone of voice as leaders. Creating standardized HR processes, over-communicating with your team, rewarding and recognizing hard work, showcasing appreciation and collaboration in monthly newsletters—all these actions show your team members that you “love” them and are committed to building a culture that values them.
In today’s hot job market, there are six open and viable opportunities for each engineer. Now, if you’ve been investing in culture, and showing your team the LOVE, you have a better shot at retaining talent in a job market that is actively pulling them away from you. But remember, it’s about more than just love. You have to also show them GROWTH. When learning about our team members and their goals, we must understand that most team members don’t want to be in the same role forever. Nor do you want them to, because those types of team members probably won’t create a lasting impact in the organization.
Next Week: Now that you’ve created a safe, supportive culture, you are ready to show your employees the path to growth.