Losing employees is always hard....
Whether you lost a star performer or your general attrition is too high. Most tend to think it’s an issue of benefits or compensation. Truth is, that’s not usually the case. To figure this out, look at everything, not just the money.
There are some employees who will jump ship because one company is paying $0.24 more an hour. You probably don't want to be working with them anyway. You'll never keep them no matter how hard you try.
For me, I very rarely lose employees… In the past few years I can’t recall a single person who quit on me.
Obviously, I've had to fire a few like we all have but... the good ones have been sticking around.
I've found the most important thing is being friendly with employees and contractors.
I have their backs when things go wrong, praise when things go right and always say thank you for hard work.
When I think about this stuff, I always think back to two examples I had in my life. One was a great job that paid shit and a shit job that paid great.
First Example: great job that paid shit
When I was working at a coffee shop...Yea, I was a barista and yeah...It was... THE BEST JOB EVER…. Ya know... for a 16-year-old...Either way, the lessons still apply.
Most certainly not because of the money. I think I was making minimum wage, maybe a little more after tips...But it was a great job because we had fun while we worked.
I would have NEVER thought of quitting. Until a new manager came in who made it more difficult to have fun.
She just shat all over the culture we loved.
When the culture left so did the people I loved working with. When they were gone so was I. But it was because the fun and culture were gone.
I didn't feel like new management supported me and the job didn't pay enough to not have fun.
Second Example: shit job that paid great
Another story I think about is a job I had at a marketing consulting firm. It was by far the best paying, biggest bonuses and best benefits job I’d ever had.
401k with company match, company cell phone, 10% bonus on up-sells to clients. These were like 2-3k bonuses every few months. They even covered 100% of our prescription costs with our medical plan! On top of that if you met your goals every 3 months there was a company sponsored trip!
Why the F**K would I leave that job? ...
They had the idea of culture all wrong.
If you asked them they would say they had a fun and creative culture and they kinda did. In the cheesy want to be silicon valley start-up kinda way. But the truth was, from the top down it was a culture of busting your ass and your work was your life.
We were expected to bill a minimum of 36 hours a week to clients. With 2 mandatory hour long meetings every week. So.. that's 38 hours and I guess we have 30 minutes for lunch 4 days a week? That math doesn't add up!
That was the minimums. Top performers were billing 60-70 hours a week to clients!
But it was because the most senior people were like that. Robots.
They sat at their desk at 6am every morning and worked until 7-8pm at night. Didn’t even stop for lunch. That’s not an exaggeration. Then, they would go home and worked for another 2 hours before going to bed. Rinse and repeat.
They expected everyone else to follow suit.
It unexpectedly created a culture of longer hours and no sleep. I once heard the founder say he didn't understand the idea of “work-life balance.”
Truth be told, I believed him. Because of that, his company’s culture lacked empathy.
For the top brass, they were working to build a great business. The people around them were working to build great lives. They couldn't tell the difference... and it cost them....
In the time I was working at this company (9 months) they had 9 people walk out on them and quit.
One person didn't even stay for a full week! Keep in mind, this was a small company. They only had 25-30 employees. We’re talking about 10% turnover in less than a year.
The owner of the company was very generous and someone who I still hold in high regard. But his lack of empathy when it came to work-life balance was costing him. Last I checked, he still can't figure out how to solve his talent problem.
Moral of the story… it’s not always about how much money you’re paying someone or what benefits you’re providing.
When it comes to keeping people around, it’s not always about stock options, benefits and how much money you put in their pocket. A lot of times, it’s about being human.
Don’t be the company you would work for. Be the company THEY would want to work for.
You’re an entrepreneur and you’re weird! All entrepreneurs are!
We work ourselves to the bone because we don’t know any different. It’s in our blood. But entrepreneurs are outliers.
Real people like spending time with their family and friends and going into a job they don’t hate.
Accomplishing both of those in one culture and you’re going to have something really special.
If if you do this right, it will cost you way less too… So instead of thinking … how much more can I spend on benefits?
Think, what can I do to make this a great place to work.