Your staff is the front line of your business and you need to give them reason to be the best.
Do you ever wonder why the people that work for you are there in the first place? What keeps your team loyal to you as a boss? Most people value more than money, so let’s give them more credit than to assume they operate only on that level. As you begin the journey of building a new business, perhaps through a franchise opportunity, one of your most prized and earliest creations will be that of a loyal team. If you do it right, they will love going to work every day and their pride in your business will be carried out into the extended world of their personal lives as they talk about their jobs, wear branded apparel and boast about your business online and in social situations. Having such a team working for you makes them want to stay on board, give their tasks 100% of their effort and gives you the advantage of reduced costs of recruitment because hiring and training will be kept to a minimum. Too many business owners suffer the financial burden of employee turnover and you could avoid such a fate and wind up benefiting from a team that is trained and skilled in exactly a way that fits your needs and your culture.
Dan Reeves, owner of Minuteman Press in Burnsville, MN, may have had the greatest support one can hope for as a business owner due to his decision to invest in a franchise, but he needed to have a philosophical awakening as a new entrepreneur on the topic of employee engagement, motivation and loyalty and how the onus lies on the boss to make it happen.
Dan explains, “When I bought my first business 23 years ago I believed that I had thought of everything. I had my business plan. I had industry experience. I had financing; and I was good to go. The one thing that I didn’t consider was how to engage employees. I didn’t realize that not everyone woke up every day and went to work on time and I needed to select my team wisely. I struggled with the balance between motivating them to be their best and coaching them when there was attendance, quality, or other personnel issues.”
Dan now has the experience and is able to emphasize the importance of giving your employees reason to be happy, engaged, and loyal, as he adds, “Employee satisfaction and engagement are critical to any employer in that they are our most important asset. You can have the finest state of the art equipment and best practice processes developed but if the employees are not engaged; or worse yet, not there, production suffers.”
The influence you have on your employees’ satisfaction is great (for better or for worse) studies say
Most of the time employees express dissatisfaction with their jobs, it can be traced to dissatisfaction with the relationship they have with their bosses. They may be upset with extreme micro-management or by a boss that operates like a ghost during daily operations and therefore, an opportunity for any relationship becomes impossible. There was a survey done in 2013 by Harris Interactive and the results reflected on “managers’ direct impact on employment brand.” It seems that 66% of employees indicate that their “direct manager has an impact on their career.” Among the 66%, 1 out of 5 say the boss “negatively impacts their career.” This belief has an absolute impact on the view of the employment brand because your employees, to make it personal, will bring forth their opinions and experiences with you and your business into the world.
Jeff Robey, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President in Florida, highlights an easy way to secure loyalty from your staff:
- Tip: Employee loyalty is very important for the success of any business. Many times they are the front line to your customers and if they feel they have a stake in the business, they will be more conscientious of how they treat them.
- The best way to gain employee trust is to make them feel like they are part of the business. They want to be proud of their jobs and your company, but they need a reason.
- Suggestion: Have meetings with them to get input from them for upcoming decisions whether it’s for equipment purchases or customer relations. This will show your employees that you value their thoughts and it will make them feel like they are part of the business.
One of the easiest ways to give yourself the best chance to put together a winning team is during the first interviews. It is perfectly fine to go with your gut here because you are, indeed, the boss. So, if an unkempt person walks in and interrupts your question about his customer services skills with a rambling statement on how he feels about the presidential election, feel free to move on (even if he has some attractive technical skills). If folks coming in to apply for a spot on your team clearly do not meet your standards or match your style, everything you hope to accomplish together will suffer. Extreme examples aside, over time, hasty selections will become unhappy and part ways with you or you will be unhappy with the mismatch you hired and your business will suffer either through substandard performance or a position that is filled by someone who is unable to reach full productivity for you.
Some entrepreneurs have it easier when it comes to selecting and grooming staff for success because they aren’t doing it alone
“Minuteman Press International offers guidance to our franchisees as they look to find the right employees, whether for a new franchise or to accommodate the needs of a franchise owner in the process of expanding to more than one location,” assures Doug Harlan, Chicago Regional Vice President for Minuteman Press International.
RELATED: For more business tips, Minuteman Press franchise reviews, owner stories, and more, check out our blog, The Minuteman Press Franchise Review, at www.shop.minutemanpress.com/franchise/blogs-news.
Doug continues, “On the local level, we are a strong presence and we consult on ad placement and as appointments roll in, we are right there to help with the interview process. We are able to contribute our perception of the candidates’ abilities while the owner is free to pay attention to their personalities in order to make sure they like their style on that critical level. After all, we may help determine the most qualified technical candidate, but if they come with characteristics with which the owner feels they can’t mesh well, then that is not going to be the right addition.”
Building the right team and getting off to a strong start is a bit easier for a franchise owner, rather than a solo entrepreneur with the entire process, from ad placement to training done with the help of support personnel and since employees come and go sometimes, what a relief to know that this kind of support is there for as long as the franchisee remains in business. Doug explains, “Once we and the owner narrow it down to a few qualified prospects, the owner is the one who makes the final decision. We, as local support representatives are well-able to point out strengths and weaknesses, but the end result is that the owner is the one making the decision to hire…or not. At that point, once they make the decision to hire someone, we are prepared to come in and provide guidance about wages appropriate for the position and how to make that offer to the person they hope to hire. From there, training is something the franchisee can be assured assistance with as well. It is one of the best things about owning a franchise in that our owners need not fear having backgrounds in all areas, including hiring and training employees because we do have the experience and we will put it to work for our franchise owners. This benefit applies to new franchisees or those in business for 30 years.”
Whether you have the head start on assembling a team afforded to a franchisee or you are on your own with the task, as a boss, it often helps to remember what it feels like to work for someone else in order to approach employees in a way that will be well-received. You’ll quickly realize that primarily, treating them like fellow human beings by making it obvious you care about them is the very first move towards having a strong working relationship. Bonding with them over ‘jobs well done’ in private and public situations, addressing challenges directly (but with respect) and making certain that their roles are well-defined are all part of the recipe for happy, loyal employees. You can be a benevolent boss and that will endear them to you and further your good reputation, but most importantly, it will help assure your team is most productive.
Do you have a great place to work?
- 20 years of research conducted by “Great Place to Work Institute” tells us that managers and employees do have a primary, defining characteristic of the very best workplaces and that is TRUST. The institute studied organizations where employees, “trust the people they work for, have pride in what they do, and enjoy the people they work with”. It is important to note that these organizations also had great facilities and flexible working styles.
Kitty Kurz, Minuteman Press franchise owner in Hanover, PA, and her husband, Scott are conscious to take care of their staff, “Scott and I feel strongly that employee loyalty starts with the owners. If we instill a sense of integrity and respect it will be reciprocated. We inherited a fantastic staff to whom we are constantly giving credit and praise not only interoffice but more importantly to our clients. It also requires hiring selectively and working with the new hires closely so they understand our values and expectations.
I asked each of our employees what makes them loyal to MMP and our company. The responses were as follows:
- “We are family oriented. One is treated as a person and not a number. It is a place where one can have a family and a job. The environment is one of caring.”
- “We offer flexibility to allow for life events.”
- “I feel appreciated.”
- “I am treated fairly. We all do what is needed and the environment is kept on an even keel.”
- “The love and respect from the management.”
- “The people and their interaction. I have been treated with respect from day one and I love what I am doing.”
Here are 3 ways in which Minuteman Press franchise owners Kitty and Scott Kurz are examples of great bosses providing a great place to work, (according to Kitty):
1. We give our employees a lot of leeway and don’t micromanage. We each know our roles and realize that to make our entire company succeed we each must do our part. Our employees are treated with respect. Also, we try very hard to understand and have empathy. All of us have a life outside of work and things happen, be it children’s schedules, sitter challenges, sickness, etc. Within reason, we try to be understanding and work with everyone to get through the situation and make sure the deadlines are still met.
2. Mostly, we are here 8 hours plus each day, so it is important to make the work environment pleasant.Lunches are provided from time to time. We have a special Christmas celebration with employees and significant others, give away tickets to our local minor league baseball games and are currently trying to figure out how else we can show our gratitude.
3. Scott and I try to not take anyone for granted. If it were not for our staff our business would not be as successful as it is. We feel our responsibility is to keep everyone employed and if we can make their life a bit more peasant then we will gladly do so.
Kitty also touched on a unique bonus that helps ensure repeat business and is a way that employee loyalty actually helps breed coveted client loyalty as well. She explains, “One of our employees stated that she is loyal to her clients. She wants to produce good work for them, take care of their needs and she is appreciated by them. Both of our graphic designers have several clients that they specifically work with and a relationship has been established some of which go back well over 15 years.”
Employees who are happy and engaged become loyal to you and eventually, that loyalty extends to your clients, the heartbeat of your growing business. If you give the members of your team reason to be loyal to you as their boss, they, in turn, will pour themselves into the roles you have assigned and become enthusiastic players needed to raise awareness of your business, tend faithfully to your clients and propel it towards prosperity.
To learn more about joining the #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise family, call us at 1-800-645-3006 or simply fill out the contact form on this page.