Are all the Good One’s Gone? — 5 Keys to Employee Retention — NAXSA

Are all the good ones gone? That is what some of us may be wondering today as we operate our business. In today’s challenging job market, we are faced with a shortage of people. The cost of labor is rising and in some areas is at an all-time high. With the lingering effects of COVID-19’s presence, we are faced with a shortage of good people.

In the past weeks and months, we see this happening throughout the Shoring industry especially in the inability to find Yard Associates and Commercial Drivers. In this, some managers are faced with understanding how we keep the people we have. Here are four keys to helping you retain people in your organization.

5 Keys to Retention:

Know Your People

It sounds simple but in reality, it can be difficult for some. Knowing your people goes beyond knowing if they showed up for work or if they were late or not. Knowing your people means that you attempt to really understand them, their goals in the workplace and in life. It means spending time with them and not just telling them what to do. Engagement with our people in this way helps develop a relationship that is deeper than just an employer to employee. It helps move your organization to more of a team mentality and they begin to work as a team pushing toward the same set of goals.

Develop Your People

Most people desire to grow, and it is up to us as leaders to facilitate that growth. Ask yourself this question. How would you like to feel as if your job was a dead end? How would you feel if you felt as if there was nowhere to go in the company? I think for most of us if we saw no growth potential, we would find something different, and guess what, so will your front-line employees. We must take time to map out a progression to help them fulfill their career goals. We must coach and train the next generation of Shoring Industry experts. You might be surprised by taking the time to help others reach their goals how much your organization will flourish, and your company will be one nobody wants to leave.

Empower Your People

People desire to be part of something bigger! Empowering your responsible people is allowing them to take ownership of their position and to make decisions. I know this sounds foreign to some but empowering your front-line staff will lead to better customer service. Better customer service leads to customer retention, which is after all what we all want. We must move employees to be involved at a deeper level; expose them to how your business operates; how you make money. When was the last time a front-line employee saw your actual profit and loss statement? How do they know how to play if they do not know the score? Empower them to produce ideas for making things better and then use them if they are feasible. Ask them to be a part of daily planning; get input. Empower them to do their jobs and be a part of the team. The cream will rise to the top, but it takes a little work on our part and that means we must let a few things go.

Coach Through Failure

This one can be hard. When an individual fails, we must coach people through that failure. The losses are hard to take. In our industry maybe we had an accident, maybe we lost to a competitor; maybe a customer got out of sorts due to a billing error, maybe the system we recommended is not right for the application, maybe we were just late on a delivery. It really does not matter who, what, when, where, or how we failed somewhere. Notice that I stated “we” failed. When an individual fails we must also look at ourselves and ask; did we fail? Did we provide training, did we provide clear direction, did we play a part in why this individual failed. If we did…own it. Sometimes a person will make a bad decision and sometimes things just go wrong. It is our job to coach through failure. Coaching means we look at all aspects of the game, how we played and then we seek to remedy these issues for the next job, the next order, the next week, and the next month. But coaching is also part of learning and developing. Coaching helps everyone be better and the aim of our coaching is to keep our people and make them better.

Celebrate Success

When we get to know people, develop people, and empower people there will be losses and there will be wins. When a team member does something good that helps move the needle forward; celebrate with them. Thank them for their work, pat them on back, tell them they did a good job. We all know how to reward but I don’t want you to think that all rewards are monetary. Many years ago, we had a revenue goal at a company I worked for. If we met that goal, we gave tickets to a minor league baseball team in town. We also had each team member sign a baseball and placed it in the baseball display case. A few weeks ago, I had a team member send me a picture of that baseball in that case. Although the names had faded it was special and it meant something to be a part of that team. The evidence is in the fact that a small token had been kept all those years. So, celebrate the wins!

I hope the above will help you in some way and keep you from wondering if all the good ones are gone. Our people are our greatest asset and if you’re like me we could not do our jobs without them.

By: Steven Simon, Communications Committee

The North American Excavation Shoring Association (NAXSA), is created to promote the safe and efficient use of excavation shoring practices. NAXSA was formed to represent manufacturers, engineers, rental companies/distributors, universities/educators, associates/suppliers, and government agency representatives who share the common goal of maintaining safety in the excavation shoring industry with the result of zero deaths and injuries.

Visit the NAXSA website here.



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