Tag Archives: Employee Retention

Dramatically Change Your Company Culture in Just One Week

What if you could dramatically change your company culture in just one week?

In a way that would foster deep leadership buy-in, sharpened leadership focus, and surging employee morale?

It may sound like pixie dust, but I have seen it happen over and over.

This is not meant to be a brag, but rather to show you what’s actually possible in your company.

Last week, Wade Vugteveen, co-owner and CEO of DeHamer Landscaping outside Grand Rapids, MI, brought his executive team to visit with me in New Orleans for a strategic retreat (see photos below).  In his words, here is what he experienced after the first five days after returning to work.

 “I told my wife that I don’t really recognize our company this week. It feels like a different place.” – Wade Vugteveen

Here are seven specific changes they made –– out of probably 20 motivating and profitable changes they implemented in the first week:

1. Hold an all-leaders team-building meeting.

They held a company meeting with all leaders where they played a fun game for everyone to get to know each other and then laid out their new company values. (Their Sales Manager, who is usually quiet and in the background, led this meeting with enthusiasm.) Each foreman took the time to talk about him/herself by answering a list of questions they created. Wade said it was a great meeting that felt entirely different from anything they have ever done. It was very well-received by their team; the energy and attitude were amped up! 

2. Nominate Chief Energy Officers.

During the strategic retreat, Wade and the team decided that Adam, one of the owners, would take on the role of Operations Manager. When they got back to work, Adam set up a three-person team to be responsible for the energy and attitudes of the entire production group, with the goal of leading everyone to more positive attitudes in the workplace. Adam named this team the Chief Energy Officers. 

3. Set up a personal database.

Adam, as the new Operations Manager, created a database of all of their team members and set up a schedule to give them formal reviews (which had not been done before). Adam collected personal information from all of his new direct reports so that the executive team could get to know and care for their people better. Within the first week, Adam had already met with half of the team, giving raises and re-setting expectations. This caught a couple of unhappy team members by surprise. It worked out super well!

4. Take the team to lunch.

The bar at my favorite restaurant, where I took the Dehamer executive team for a pre-event, southern creole meal.

Their Sales Manager had lunch with his salespeople and re-set much clearer expectations. Sounds like a no-brainer, but this was not part of the original Action Plan we had set. He simply made it happen. This should be happening a couple of times a year; lunching with your key leaders. When is the last time you took your people to lunch one at a time?

5. Find out what irritates your team the most and fix it.

They paved their parking lot, and oh-man did everyone really appreciate that. What’s one thing you could do to elevate everyone’s mood?

6. Remove the fires and decisions from your plate.

As CEO, Wade has been much less stressed and has had time to really focus on his role – there has been much less distracting discussions around the office and more people taking responsibility and just getting stuff done. Gotta love that. How freed up is your time?

7. Gain buy-in for cross-selling services.

Hard at work, the Dehamer executive team at my strategic retreat in New Orleans.

Their install salespeople have already sold a few lawn care and snow contracts in this first week, and they have become excited about supporting the growth of services, which was not the case before the strategic retreat. We laid out an entire cross-selling strategy where everyone will have responsibility for growth, not just the service sales team.

Wade also told me that on the flight back home, they decided to step up their plan to grow their sales team. And they already made an offer to a lawn care salesperson as a way to really accelerate the growth of their services division.

I am told that their executive team has gelled and bought into the growth plans that we laid out. As Wade shared with me, he does not recognize his company after just one week – It feels like a totally different and better place. 

Your Challenge:

It’s one thing to do a strategic planning session with your team, be it quarterly or annual.

But, it’s completely different to transform the energy of your team and actually create a plan that dramatically improves your culture and your financial results.

Your challenge is to think outside the box next time you hold a strategic planning session with your team.

To help this, create your own R&D program (rob & duplicate). Steal one of these ideas from above and implement it in your company.

Young male constructor worker in orange hardhat thinking with one arm crossed and the other on his chin

Poach or Be Poached?

A recurring question that you face—and one that I am asked occasionally—is it okay to poach employees?

And/or what should I do when someone is poaching my employees?

First off, when someone offers one of your better employees $10k more and they leave, either they were unhappy with you, or you were underpaying them, or underutilizing them, or all three.

However, what if they leave for just a $2-4k raise? or for no raise at all?

That is why I believe this question, “Is it okay to poach?” is the wrong question to ask because it covers up (hides) the larger dynamic happening in the market place.

It’s a seller’s market.

Your company is either growing or shrinking when it comes to talent retention and acquisition.

The growing companies in your market are winning employee market share—and the shrinking companies are losing out on the best employees. And poaching has nothing to do with it.

By my definition, growth means growing in reputation, career opportunities, and client opportunities. These companies are becoming a true Destination Company®️.

Since I published my prescient book (Become A Destination Company®️) over three years ago, I have seen the competitive nature of attracting and hiring employees become even more acute.

The newer generations of good employees have even higher standards on what they want from an employer. It is a race to the top!

Your challenge: Build a company culture that promotes growth from the inside out. Where all the leaders at your company are focused on developing and retaining top talent.

Back to the question – Is poaching ethical? It is not professional when it involves you walking onto job sites. But your company should be so attractive that great employees want to walk across the street to work for you.

Preventing Good Employees From Getting Away

What causes worker exodus and what should you do about it?

Gallup’s extensive research tells us that there are 12 key elements to keeping employees engaged:

  1. I know what is expected of me at work
  2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my job right
  3. At work my opinions seem to count
  4. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important
  5. My associates are committed to doing quality work
  6. I have a best friend at work
  7. At work I have the opportunity to do what I do best everyday
  8. In the last seven days I have received recognition or praise for doing good work
  9. My supervisor is someone at work who seems to care about me as a person
  10. In the last six months someone at work has talked to me about my progress
  11. This last year I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow
  12. There is someone at work who encourages my development

Source: Gallup

When employees leave or disengage they will cost your company revenue and profits from productivity and customer loyalty. These 12 factors above create a compelling call to action for your managers and leaders. You can reset your focus on employee engagement by:

  • Consistently and inspirationally communicate the vision, mission, values, and goals of the company; and reinforce weekly/monthly what each person’s role, contribution and impact is towards that.
  • Engage employees with regular (individual and team) meetings to demonstrate that you are a resource as well as an inspiration for them to do an extraordinary job.
  • Give employees the opportunity to grow in their field, by offering training, professional development and challenging work, and your coaching.
  • Acknowledge that the economy has pressured the company in ways that have often taxed employees. Recognize and appreciate their sacrifice and how it made a difference in the company surviving.
  • Demonstrate your leadership through authenticity, integrity, and passion to bring the company to a new level that can only be accomplished by a united team.

In an effort to survive this economy, leaders and managers must focus on their greatest asset. The impact of an engaged workforce on productivity, customers and profits will fuel your company’s growth to the next level.

Not sure where to begin? For those of you not coaching with me, you can begin by giving your employees a “survey” based on the Gallup Poll.

You can take it a step further, by engaging your employees in a beginning or mid-year retreat – to gain their buy-in to your company’s growth plan and future. For information on how this works, email me at Jeff@JeffreyScott.biz