It doesn’t matter how awesome your business is or how profitable it is if it falls apart when you’ve scared off everyone who works for you.
Getting people trained is critical, and keeping them team members with you long-term is even more crucial.
Speaking and listening to those of you who follow me, this topic came up again and again, so it’s time to dig into my 5 team member retention strategies.
Team member retention is essential for running a successful business. My five strategies for keeping good people around include:
- Knowing your purpose
- Delivering truth
- Being transparent
- Setting the example
- Showing gratitude to your team
Let’s jump in and level up your business and leadership.
Note: I hate the word “employee,” so I say team member. If you want to say employee go ahead, but I won’t in this article.
Why Retain Team Members At All?
When you think about it, this is such a powerful concept.
It’s a financially driven concept.
It’s an emotionally charged concept.
We all spend so much time recruiting and looking at the recruiting process.
Sometimes we don’t even spend a lot of time on onboarding.
But if you continue on this path for a while,, you realize:
You know, it seems like I’ve got a revolving door.
My friend, there are some studies that say, on average, it costs companies $15,000 per team member to replace them.
Don’t believe me?
Kenny, come on. I just run a couple of ads and hit up Craigslist.
I hit a couple of online directories and made a couple of Facebook posts.
Now I’ve got a new team beating down my door.
Because you and I both know that there’s a loss of productivity.
There’s a culture hit.
This turnover affects every aspect of your business.
It’s not only the single person you’re replacing.
You have to take on the job to find them.
Their direct team members have to pick up the slack while we replace and train the next person.
The people above them have to handle the loss.
It’s a domino effect.
This costs money, time, effort, and sanity.
You may also want to read on the importance of delegation.
Reflect On Leaving A Job
I want you to think about this for a moment.
What’s the last job that you left, and why did you leave?
I think back to the army because I left the job.
I spent three years in the military.
It sounds like I was doing time, doesn’t it?
I kind of was because I couldn’t get out, right.
Now let’s be clear about something.
Could I have spent longer in the army if I could have?
Yes, I would have.
If you’re new to reading my stuff, you’ll know I’m not ashamed of my past.
Was it perfect? Heck no.
Did it bring me to where I am now, changing leadership? Heck yes.
Yes, I was an honorable discharge from the Army.
But let’s look at the Army.
If I could have gotten stationed where I wanted to get stationed…
If I could have gotten promoted based on my performance and not just how long I was in…
Would I have stayed in?
Yes, I would have stuck around longer.
Those opportunities didn’t exist.
I had to go, my friend.
Think About Your Team
When you think about this for you and your own team, how does this show up?
I think about another job.
I used to drive a pizza truck.
One of those divisions of the Schwan’s company.
I was a truck driver in the army.
When I got out of the army, I started delivering frozen pizzas.
I drove this big freezer truck.
That was a good job that paid pretty decently.
It was bond performance.
The better conversation I had with store managers or who was setting up the freezer section, the more I made.
If I got an end cap, perhaps I sold more pizzas.
So early on, I started understanding that relationships mattered.
My promotions mattered, how I sold people mattered, and where the product was placed mattered.
That impacted my income based on how many pizzas got sold.
Why’d I leave that job?
Because the culture of the business had me drive in unsafe situations.
Ladies and gentlemen, I spent a lot of my life in Colorado and driving through the mountains.
But they wanted me to drive in a time that it was completely unsafe.
There was a blizzard, they were closing roads, and they said:
No, you gotta deliver.
I’m not the mailman.
I’m the pizza guy.
It does not have to take place.
Therefore I had to change my game, and I ended up leaving.
Think About Yourself
What about you?
Here’s the reality.
You left your previous positions for the same reason.
People will give you unrealistic expectations,
Those are some of the reasons that I left mine.
The same is true for why people leave yours.
Let’s talk about this for a moment.
Retention is like a relationship.
It’s kind of a sales one.
What do we mean by that?
What’s in it for you, and what’s in it for me?
Where do these match together?
Team member retention is like a marriage.
You want the relationship to be strong.
There are some good ones that work well and stand the test of time.
And there are those that fail explosively.
All relationships take work.
The same is true of team members.
5 Powerful Team Member Retention Strategies
This is where I want to get clarity on 5 things I want to tell you about today.
#1 Know Your Purpose
Know your purpose.
As a company, know your purpose.
I wrote about this in another post, click here to check it out.
It’s so critical as leaders that we know who we are.
It’s so critical as we lead our businesses that we know why we exist.
You’ve got to know what those things are, so the team can begin to rally around you and execute their own purpose through your organization.
If those things don’t exist, it’s going to be short-lived.
People will not be able to grow with you.
People come into your life and your business for three different amounts of time:
Reasons, Seasons, And Lifetimes
What does that mean?
Sometimes there’s a reason that somebody comes in to teach you a specific lesson.
You need to know.
Sometimes there’s a season.
In the service businesses that I’m involved in there’s a certain level of growth 2 million to 4 million or from 4 million to 10 million.
Some people are with you for that season.
And some people stick around for a lifetime.
The people that stick for a lifetime are the people that allow you to continue to evolve and grow as who you are as a leader and as an organization.
They are also able to grow and execute through that exact process with you.
#2 Deliver Truth
First off, know your purpose.
Now, we need to speak and deliver the truth.
My friends, you must have integrity.
You got to have some work-life balance.
Everybody wants to just work 80 hours a week in different things.
I work more than most people that I know, and I don’t “have to” from a financial standpoint.
I do it because I’m executing my purpose and my creativity through the businesses that I’m involved in.
That’s why I work a lot.
This is also why I dislike the retirement word (check out my post on the topic at the link).
But there’s a work-life balance.
Meaning I take free days.
I take complete days off.
I take vacations.
That’s all part of it.
But you must perpetuate that through your own organization.
You must let people decide what they want to do.
How do they want to show up?
What’s that look like?
You must speak the truth.
You can’t say you’re all about family and positive work environments and then treat people like garbage and ever give them time off.
Team members won’t last long.
#3 Be Transparent
What do I mean by that?
No, you don’t have to show all your dirty laundry or whatever it is that you’re afraid of.
Personally, I’m a very transparent person.
What you see is what you get in the speaking world.
The Kenny I am on stage is the Kenny I am at my business, and it’s the Kenny I am at home.
It didn’t used to be.
But now I have complete integrity with who I am.
What you see is what you get.
I speak my truth.
If you ask me a question, you’re going to know I’m transparent.
I’m not going to force my beliefs, my opinions, my philosophies on you because you’re in this life to discover what’s true for you.
However, I don’t have anything to hide.
If you’re on my team, you’re going to know the good, bad, the ugly, the indifferent.
You’re going to know some of my idiosyncrasies.
We’re going to play full out together.
Business Is More Than Business
Because we’re doing this life together, not just this business together.
Let’s get clear about that.
We are doing this life together.
Too often we get stuck in a business and life split.
My friends, you spend too much time working to not have it be an integral part of your life.
#4 Set The Example
You need to set an example.
If you want to keep people and you want to retain, set an example.
That doesn’t mean you’ve got to work the most hours.
It doesn’t mean you’ve got to be the top performer.
It doesn’t mean you got to lead every category of performance, but you’ve got to lead by example with transparency, with the communication style, with your heart, with your relationships, and with how you show up.
If you’re saying family’s important, don’t make sure you take time off.
We run into this a lot with leaders that we coach.
Is it important that you take time off really?
When’s the last time you took a free day?
Think about that.
I hit some of you, didn’t I?
Put your money where your mouth is.
#5 Show Gratitude To Your Team
The last thing and certainly not least is to make sure you express gratitude for your team.
Make it a conscious point and practice it to where it almost becomes unconscious.
I want to love my team and let them know how much I care about them.
I don’t have children, and I’m from a small family.
So I build businesses where I create people that I love in positions around me.
If people aren’t in alignment or can’t grow with us or whatever, then that’s okay for people to leave.
I don’t want them to not stay on the team.
I don’t want people leaving where I’m thinking we’ve got one kind of a relationship, and yet another one is going on.
See, it’s about full transparency.
It’s about speaking the truth.
It’s about being who you are, but it’s about telling people the truth.
If you really are grateful for them, tell them you’re super pleased with performance and let them know.
It’s not about lip service.
I want you to exude gratitude to them.
Here’s the reality:
My friend, you’re a leader.
You’re reading this.
You don’t have a business without your team.
What is the level?
Where are you showing it?
Set up a checklist and hold yourself to do these things.
My friends, you will find yourself having that revolving door and having a challenging time keeping team members.
Keep good people sticking around by knowing your purpose, deliver truth, be transparent, set the example, and show gratitude in spades.
Until next time, make it a better-than-fantastic day!