Thiel Strategic Communications
Thank you for starting this discussion, John. This discussion takes the previous thread about non-competes/training employer/employee relations and flips it on its head.
(This is the "glass if half-full" side of the previous discussion)
Peter Drucker said, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast"
People are more important than money.
Hire for Attiutude and Skill.
Invest in those people through training - both technical and soft skills
Give your people a career path.
Manage a Team, not a Family (http://greatleadersserve.org/are-you-leading-a-team-or-a-family/)
Share values and behaviors that create a desire for people, such as:
- We strive for excellence
- We do what we say we will do
- We measure performance by results rather than efforts
- We treat others the way we want to be to be treated
Pay people well.
Sell profit to support and grow your people.
Recognize your employees.
I hope this discussion helps many of us learn from, and challenge, each other.
IMO, if you want to keep talented staff (and nobody really wants the untalented staying around anyway), it boils down to two very 'human' needs being met: Talented employees need to be challenged and to be valued.
Talented folk like challenge. Without it, they get bored and start searching for challenges outside your company.
Everyone likes feeling valued. Without it, people get defensive/vindictive and counter-productive in many small and hard-to-define ways. The lack of feeling valued is a poison to any team dynamic.
In addition to what Charles and Marty mentioned, pay your employees more as they take on additional training, certifications, responsibilities, duties, promotions, or achieve milestones of time in grade. Salaries need to grow as the employee's grows within the company and loyalty should be rewarded. If your employee becomes more valuable and you can bill them out at a higher rate because of additional training or experience, share it with them. It can be frustrating to an employee who takes on additional challenges not to be rewarded for their efforts in a commensurate manner. For example, you can't promote an installer to a superintendent and give him a $0.50/hr. raise.
Quit trying to short circuit the free market process with non-competes and agreements that state you are responible for paying back the company if you leave within X months after some factory certification training. (There are exceptions for when a company sponsors an employee to obtain their contracting license or paid for their formal technical education) Many times, these agreements become a from of indentured servitide and the employer takes advantage of it. If you challenge, recognize, pay and treat your employees well, they have no reason to want to go anywhere else.
To piggyback on Charles and not to sound like a Ford commercial. Hire for attitude, train for skill. It's hard to find those "high performers" with great attitude and skill in the marketplace. Skill can be taught, attitude is pretty much ingrained. A "high performer" will still have habits to break from his previous employer and will likely need to be re-trained on the procedures and systems that your company sells.