Your business is a living, breathing organism. That’s because real people make up the organization. And yet, many leaders ignore this and focus on rigid structures that simplify a business down to a profit-making machine.
Here we’ll get into all the reasons why this is wrong and the proper approach to take instead. You’ll see what truly defines a successful service business and how to develop a service business culture that will attract the best people. But more importantly, you’ll learn how to keep them in your company for the long haul. (Don’t worry: this approach is great for profit!)
You’ll get a chance to learn about this from an expert. Scott Love has spent 20 years researching the qualities of bosses that maximize employee retention. He’s a very successful entrepreneur and keynote speaker who teaches managers how to be outstanding leaders.
So without further ado, let’s get to the crux of the matter.
Why Employee Retention Matters and the Mistakes Bosses Make
Scott believes that businesses in every industry faces the same issue: where to find the best people and how to hire them. But he believes that this isn’t the main question that they need to think about.
He gives an analogy that illustrates this perfectly. There’s always the dilemma of whether a business should look for new customers or make existing ones happy. Successful service businesses know that the latter is more important. Scott explains that the same thing applies to your employees.
The biggest mistake that bosses should avoid is neglecting to invest in those who are already there. However important it is to always be on the lookout for new talent, you need to balance it out with retaining as many key people as possible.
There are all sorts of reasons why this is important.
Why Employee Retention Is Crucial to Success
First of all, people who have been in your company for a long time know your service business culture like the palm of their hand. They have a rich knowledge base that can turn into your competitive advantage. On the more tangible side of things, this results in fewer mistakes and higher productivity. It’s also much more cost-effective to ensure retention than onboarding new people on a regular basis
But there’s so much more to this. People who’ve been in a company for a long time develop a strong support system. They have a sense of teamwork and know how to work together to solve complex issues. As they go along, they develop meaningful relationships that further make them want to stay in the company for a long time.
Lastly, a stable work environment offers a huge morale boost. People feel safe and there’s no anxiety over losing their job. This makes them want to work, instead of having to work. On the outside, this sends a very positive message to the market and can do wonders for your reputation.
Now that we’ve gone through the importance of retention if you’re to build a successful service business, let’s discuss an important topic that can go a long way toward retaining your best people.
How Company Culture Affects Employee Retention
Your culture is what will ultimately determine if someone stays or leaves. But, how do you build a service business culture that makes sure your people will want to stay?
Scott believes that there’s one important thing that you need to learn:
You have to look at business and personal lives as a whole.
In Scott’s words:
‘It's all personal. The feelings that follow people from home every morning impact their work, the feelings that go home with them every night from work impact the emotions at home.’
Once you understand this, you’ll be able to create a culture that people will want to be a part of. You do this by asking meaningful questions about your people to see what it is that they want for themselves. This goes for both their personal and professional lives.
But more importantly, you need to know yourself to the core. This is the only way for you to change your company’s culture as an executive.
Scott believes that this boils down to two things. The first one is asking yourself about your life’s purpose. Scott has this written and taped to his computer monitor, which he advises you to do the same.
The second thing that you have to ask yourself relates to your core values. Assuming that you had all the money and freedom in the world and all your relationships were perfect, what would be left for you to work on? What’s the thing that you’d live by?
When you align your personal values with those of your business, you’ll create a service business culture that motivates and retains your best people.
A good example of this is evident in a story that Tim Grover shares. He’s a successful business owner who participated in and has the highest regard for the CEO Warrior group.
In his words:
‘It was such a unique, precious experience to see something I've never seen anything like that: people are jumping on the tables, and they're banging and wearing masks and all this stuff. The ovation was absolutely amazing. It actually gave me chills.’
This is what you want. You want fired-up people who love being a part of your culture. So how do you get there?
How to Retain and Engage Employees
With decades of experience, Scott knows a great deal about what it takes to keep your best people in your company.
He believes that bosses can do a number of things toward that end.
1. Give People an Emotional Stake in the Company
Scott firmly believes that an employee’s decision to stay in a company or leave is mostly emotional. The employee has a set of personal goals that they wish to achieve through working in your company. And those goals are emotionally driven.
This is why a successful service business leader goes out of their way to play to these emotions. They need to make sure that their people have room to reach their goals through the work that they’re doing. This creates an emotional stake that makes them want to stick around.
This means that there are things about your business that no other companies can offer. Your people may look at a few other opportunities as they come up, but they’ll never want to jump ship. No amount of money can beat this level of emotional attachment.
Therefore, what you should do is identify your employees’ biggest desires. Armed with that knowledge, think of ways to meet these desires. This is how you can create an unbreakable bond between your employees and your business.
2. Make Sure that People Have a Good Perception of You
Scott believes that people ‘join companies but leave bosses.’ Unless you lead by example and cultivate your service business culture, people may get the temptation to leave you.
Scott shares a story about one employee who told him that he’s absolutely disgusted with his company. That’s because the executives were treating people with obvious disrespect. They’d talk about them behind their back and create a toxic culture that nobody wanted to be a part of.
You must never let this happen. If your people don’t respect you, they won’t feel motivated to work. Scott explains:
‘You give an employee a directive, they're going to respond on a range of one to 10, meaning they're putting their heart and their soul into that directive. If they don't respect you, they're going to respond with a minimum.’
Always make sure to treat your people with respect if you want them to return the favor. Do this and you’ll see how much more engaged they become.
3. Turn Conflicts into Winning Situations
Conflicts are unavoidable whenever a group of people has to coexist together, which would include work environments. But if you approach conflicts the right way, they don’t have to be a bad thing. Scott explains that you only have to resolve conflicts in a way that brings people closer together.
To do this, you need to focus on two things – the issue and the emotions related to it. Successful service business leaders know how to approach their people in a non-judgmental and friendly fashion. And this is something that everyone responds well to.
Address the emotions that both sides are feeling when a conflict arises. Follow that up by having a clear outcome that you want to achieve and work your way toward it.
A Successful Service Business Starts with Happy Employees
Hopefully, you now have a better grasp of what it takes to build a service business culture that your people will want to be a part of.
Scott has got it figured out, and he’s helped all his clients to do the same. Take a page from his playbook if you want to be a boss that your people wouldn’t want to leave.
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