It can be tough keeping people on board when your competition is a monster company able to offer all sorts of perks, benefits, and compensation packages. How do you reduce turnover when your competition is able to offer all of those bells and whistles?
You turn your small size into one of your major advantages over the competition. Being smaller means you are better able to put effort into each individual on your team. Specifically, you put effort into coaching your talent in their efforts to follow their own dream career path.
You might get lucky and get some employees who share the exact same dream for your business as you have and want to throw themselves into helping you make this thing you created blow up.
That’s great, and you should consider yourself incredibly lucky to have such people on board. But if you want to reduce turnover you’re going to have to adjust your thinking about your employees and understand that they have their own dreams as well (even those top tier gung-ho “Yes sir/madam!” types).
Those dreams, their dreams, represent a huge opportunity for you. They’re all going to want to feel like their work made a significant contribution to your business, but they’re also going to want to feel like it helped build a rung in their own personal ladders. They may get a better health package at the competition, but how likely is it they’re going to get career coaching from the CEO and/or owner over there?
Putting On the Uniform
So what does it take to be a coach?
The coaching we’re talking about in this instance mainly means delegation. Assigning meaningful problem-solving. Giving your talent the opportunity to take on a task that is going to make a significant contribution to the efficiency of your operations.
Somewhere along the line you’ve heard a phrase like, “There are no problems, only opportunities.” Here’s your chance to prove that maxim true, and reduce turnover in the same bold stroke.
Take a look at your business’ workflow systems. Identify a glitch, a speed bump, something that at the very least could be a little bit better or, at the other end of the scale, is something that needs to be rethought completely because it’s holding your business back.
Being the start-upper that you are you may have a very strong urge to roll up your sleeves and tackle the problem yourself. Fight that urge and hand the task over. In this situation your start-up is your employee’s career.
You can certainly offer help if it’s requested, you can offer boundaries, hints, you can offer your experience when your employee is heading down a path you’ve already taken. But let the employee do the work.
It’s going to be hard putting your business baby in someone else’s hands, but you’ll see that it’s worth it in the long run. Once the problem is solved you’re going to have an employee who was given a major big-boy/girl task, solved it, and made a massive contribution to the company that they can point to for the rest of their careers.
You get a more efficient business and you get to reduce turnover because not only that employee, but all of your employees, will see that they have permission to invest their careers right in the bare bones of your business, making it their business as well.
At your competition they’re only going to be tiny cogs in a very big machine. Unheard, unnoticed, and unable to ever make a contribution like they made for you. Over there their career dreams don’t even exist.
Want to reduce turnover? Put ‘em in coach, and see what happens.