What happens when your contents division loses a trusted employee?Today’s workforce is mobile and has more choices than ever when it comes to deciding how to earn a paycheck. Freelance opportunities like Uber, Lyft and delivery services like Postsmastes have given more people the opportunity to work their own hours without supervision. More traditional brick and mortar employers are faced with increased wage demands in cities where referendums have increased the minimum wage. So, how do you keep the employees you have and how do you attract new talent?

  1. Leadership is important. When I went to work for a restoration company, I always knew management had my best interest in mind as long as I had the company’s best interest in mind. The leadership displayed by the people I worked for was mirrored in how I treated the customers and my co-workers. Pride in working for a company has nothing to do with branding or corporate color-schemes; it has everything to do with how well everyone works as a team.
  2. Someone has to know what they’re doing. It’s okay to not know everything but it’s critical that somebody knows something. Employees who see visible failures like; broken items returned, contents not properly cleaned or deodorized, lost contents. These occurrences make people wonder if they should be working somewhere else. The best way to solve this is by making your employees part of the solution. Create a process that makes sense. Put your people in a position to succeed!
  3. Don’t play favorites. During the holidays I spent some time with a friend who was telling me about how he trained a new hire. He brought him up to speed on everything he needed to know to be a successful water technician. Now that new hire is his supervisor. There is nothing that should keep my friend from being promoted except that he did not come to the company with any established personal relationships. If an employee feels the game is rigged, he/she will be looking for a better situation.
  4. Get training so you can train the next class. Think of an employee who would be devastating to lose. She’s great with customers; she knows how to operate your ultrasonics to maximum efficiency, she’s been in enough situations to make you feel confident that the job can be handled right. Now imagine her leaving.  Who’s going to run the sonic? Who’s going to be my lead in the field? Who knows how to handle the back end of our inventory software? Understand that these are all temporary road blocks. You can always bring in an expert to right the ship and mold your next great employee.
  5. Anybody can offer a job. Just as anybody can get a job. What separates a job from an opportunity is the potential to grow. So many of us have found careers in this industry. Either as estimators, project managers, general managers to regional managers to sales. Opportunities are everywhere in our industry, but only at the companies that can grow and create those opportunities. Share your vision and find the people who want to join you for the ride.

As I travel the country teaching Pack Out protocols and the fundamentals of ultrasonic sciences, I am always pleased to meet the men and woman who have taken the initiative to expand their business. There is a principle on decision making that I often reference. It is borrowed from The Toyota Way – a gospel of sorts on management and large scale manufacturing efficiency.

Make decisions slowly based on consensus, thoroughly considering all options; implement rapidly.

The key to this message is the part where we implement rapidly. So many good ideas get stuck in the paralysis by analysis. Fortunately many of the people I train have advanced past the challenge of taking action. They have bought equipment, expanded their storage space and hired training. I am inspired every time I travel to meet a new business owner and every time I make that point I pause and congratulate the ownership on their ability to make decisions and implement rapidly.