You have taken the time to review their resume, interview them, check their references and then bring them into your business. Now, how do you keep them? Just like the old saying, “The cheapest part of having a boat is buying it”; hiring someone is the easy part. But are you investing in your employees? If not, why not? Do you invest in your facilities? Do you clean and maintain your kitchen, dining, rooms, and guest rooms? Do you invest by advertising for specials and events? It is very likely that the answer to those questions is yes. Why, then, don’t you invest in your most valuable and important asset – your human resources?
Here are five ways to invest in your human resources:
Number One: Training
Make sure your staff have the information they need to get the job done and done correctly. You have heard, and maybe asked, the familiar question, “What if I train them, and they leave?” A bigger question is, “What if you don’t, and they stay?” Employees want to perform, and they want to perform well. No one intends to do a bad job. When an employee is trained, he feels confident in his skills and abilities, so take the time to train them correctly. Pick the right trainers; a good trainer will teach them the right way and will not take short cuts. Also, be involved. Don’t’ assume the training is being done correctly. Follow-up to make sure your new-hires are learning what they need to be successful. If there are gaps, be sure to modify the training program immediately. If your training is successful, your business will be successful.
Number Two: Create Mutually Beneficial Incentives
Contests are a popular way to motivate performance, and, I believe, it comes from our competitive human nature. Spend a little time to develop a creative competition where the prize excites everyone involved. Some examples may include: the employee with highest sales of local, craft beer in the first quarter wins a tour of the brewery with an Uber there and back, or the employee with the most number of positive comments on Yelp during January receives a night at a competitor’s hotel. Let’s be realistic. How hard is someone really going to work for a tee shirt with a cinnamon schnapps logo on it? How hard would you work for that? Be sure to set the bar high. Giving your employees something big to shoot for will give you big results – even if they don’t’ quite achieve it. Now, what do you get out of a competition like this? In the case of the bar sales, your employees will come away with first-hand knowledge of the brewery: how the beer is brewed and what gives it distinction over other beers. In the case of positive feedback, your employees experience what the competition does well and what it doesn’t. In both cases, your employees will be better able to serve your guests. You get a benefit while rewarding those that are working hard and training them in the process. It is a win, win, win!
Number Three: Assist in their Personal Development
This can be accomplished in a number of ways. You can provide online or in-person leadership development programs or give them access to specialized learning courses outside of the company. Collaborate with a distributor and send them to a wine pressing or oyster farm. If one of your managers attended a class in Italian wines, what do you think that would do for your wine sales? If your executive housekeeper attended a class at a local community college on organizational management, do you think it would help productivity? Be creative and involve your staff in the process. What motivates you may not motivate them. (Many companies offer tuition reimbursements and financial incentives for achieving a certain grade.)
Number Four: Chart their Path in The Company
If you don’t want your management and staff to consider other opportunities, then clearly communicate their career path to them. Too many employers take this for granted. Just because you know the way, doesn’t mean your managers do. It is always a great practice to promote from within. Explain the next step to all your employees; discuss it them along with your expectations and how they can advance their career. If you are a “Mom & Pop” organization and they have the wrong last name, show them what they can do to become invaluable to the company and how they can make more money. Perhaps they need to learn a new position or gain new skills with a class. Whatever it is, make sure that it is clearly communicated.
Number Five: Listen to Them
Everyone wants to be heard. You can learn a lot when listening to employees and managers. Maybe they have a great new marketing idea for an upcoming event, which makes them feel like they are a stronger part of the team. If you find out that a family member is sick or that their spouse just got a promotion or that their child just graduated from high school, send flowers. Invite them in for a dinner on the house or just speak with them for a few minutes about the situation. You can always spare a few minutes to find out what’s going on with your employees and managers in both their professional and personal lives. Institute “stay” interviews in addition to exit interviews. You find out why an employee is leaving with an exit interview, but you can find out why they are staying and what you can do to improve with a stay interview.
You want your business to stand out from the dozens of companies you compete against. To do that, you need to help your employees and managers stand out. Your team really is your most valuable asset, and your team will continue to add value once they feel your loyalty is as strong as theirs.