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  • Writer's pictureJerremy Alexander Newsome

How to Keep the Good Employees

Hi, world! My name is Jerremy Alexander Newsome. I thought about writing this article while I was at the gym just a few minutes ago. Before the gym, I went to the bank, grabbed some lunch, and had my oil changed. All in all I'd spoken with employees of three different companies, and I guess it got me thinking about my wide range of experience as both an employee and an employer.

You may have read other articles of mine, or listened to some of my classes where I mention the three keys to any successful business. To reiterate, they are:

1. Customer Service 2. Employees 3. Budgeting

I am going to focus on the employee section for now. Not too deep, at least not in this write up, but just a good overview or refresher for you, the business owner.

How to keep the best employees

5. Pay them well. I know business owners want to make the most money, especially sole proprietors, since they take the most risk. Trust me, I totally understand. But if you have a singular employee, or even several, who are just simply sensational, pay them more! Listen, I'm sure your company culture is good and the product you create is exceptional, but the majority of people working for you work for you to receive a paycheck. They have a skill and they want to get paid to use that skill. In the movie 'The Dark Knight' (one of the best movies of all time, in my opinion), The Joker said, 'If you are good at something, never do it for free.” He said this in reply to a question from a Russian gangster, 'Why don't you just kill the batman?” Folks, there are various ways to pay your employees more. In my opinion, a quarterly raise, even if it's only.15 or .25 cents an hour, can go much farther than you might anticipate. Remember your first job? You know, the one that paid you barely over minimum wage? Remember when you got that .25 cent an hour raise and how it made you feel? Exactly. Giving someone an unexpected raise, no matter the amount or reason, will do wonders for your turnover rate.

4. Make sure they like their job title. This is much easier in a smaller company, but depending on what the employee does the title could differ. Have you ever thought of asking your employee what they want their job title to be? If you, the boss, think the employee should be called a Customer Service Representative, and you ask and they reply, 'I would like to be a Customer Service Specialist” or 'I would like to be a Customer Service Flow Facilitator”, give them the title! Who cares? HA HA! You have a job for them. If they do it and they are spectacular at it, a title they choose will make them feel more confident about the position. Sure, it may take one or two hours of work on your part to make slight changes, but it's worth it, trust me. A job title that the employee owns will make them even more proud to work for you. I had a good friend tell me once 'Titles are good for two things: The title holder's ego, or for leveraging other people's egos when they are dealing with you”.

3. Allow for flexible work schedules. As a company, I am sure you have certain hours of the day when business needs to be done. My first 'real' job was Quality Cleaners in Gainesville, FL. I was 16 years old. The store was open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Is there really a reason to have a dry cleaners open 24 hours? Nah. One of my favorite comedians, Mitch Hedberg, summed it up this way: 'I was walking by a dry cleaner at 3 a.m., and their sign said, 'Sorry, we're closed.' You don't have to be sorry. It's 3 a.m., and you're a dry cleaner. It would be ridiculous for me to expect you to be open now. I'm not gonna walk by at 10 a.m. and say, Hey, I walked by at 3, you guys were closed. Someone owes me an apology. This jacket would be halfway done!” It's true! The busiest times of the day for me were when people went to work and when they got off work. When I worked at Nationwide Insurance, at one point I experienced a transition of supervisors. My old supervisor, Wayne, was leaving the department and my newest supervisor at the time, Angie, was taking over. Both of them were truly two of the best people I have ever encountered. So nice! But when I heard this new person, Angie, was taking over as my boss, I made sure to speak with her and give her my hours. My hours were very specific. I told her a bit tentatively, 'Hi, nice to meet you! Just so you know, my current hours are very unorthodox.” She asked, 'Yeah, how so?” I told her, 'I come in when I want to, I leave when I want to, but I promise I'll accomplish everything you ever ask me to do and my tasks will get finished faster, cheaper and I'm more effective than anyone else on the team.” She smiled and said 'Ok, we will work well together”. And folks, I did exactly that. I did my job, working when I wanted to. 9 a.m. -1 p.m. done for the day, or if it was busy 1 p.m. – midnight, but the job always got done. Ladies and gentleman, bend the rules! If you are in the restaurant industry, call centers, technology, landscaping, or whatever it is you do, if you do have that one exceptional employee and they specifically ask for a different work schedule, make it happen! Do whatever you can. What you care about as a business owner is whether they will get the job done, that's it. With technology these days, webinar capabilities, cell phones, text message, Skype, Face Time, Google Talk, it's very easy for employees to work at home. Give them a task and a time. If they crush it, it's a home run for you. That employee will never leave . . . unless they do, which brings me to number two.

2. Support their dreams. This is semi-rare, as it's not a common trait, but you may have an employee who wants to start a competitive company. This comes in many various forms. You may have an employee who is super creative, smart, driven and innovative, and who is always coming up with fresh, brand new ideas. Well, if you have any employee like that, make sure you do everything on this list for that employee. These people are rare. Keep them. Granted, these types of employees are so driven that at some point they likely will outgrow your company. If you get this sense from an employee, that they're on the verge of spreading their wings, build them the bridge to walk across! Do not damper this, but encourage it and help them as much as possible. Sound crazy? Maybe, but for sure someone else will compete for your business soon anyway. It might as well be someone you know and have a good impact on. Starting a business is expensive. If you own a chain of dry cleaners and you have an employee who wants to start his own, give one to him. Let him be the owner/manager of his own store. Yes, there will be legal fees and licensing issues that you have to work out, but it's insane not to! If the employee would rather start his brand new business, with his own name, locations, and advertising . . . great! Find a way to partner with that employee, rather than making an enemy. Help with the seed money or venture capital. Folks, if you don't eat your breakfast someone else will. Might as well split it so you both get fed.

1. Open lines of communication. I decided to save the most novel idea for last. Say you have an employee, whether good or bad; ask them what they want. Ask them what would make them happy, and do your very best to make it happen. Do they want a longer lunch break, different color cubicle, company car – just ASK! This is so vital in any company in any field or sector. Ask, ask, ask! Open communication is key in any relationship, especially the boss to employee relationship. If they aren't happy, ask what you can do. Be sensitive, caring and honest. If they are happy, find a way to make them ecstatic! I guarantee you, even in an industry as tough as the restaurant or hotel business where turnover rate is usually the highest, if you follow these simple principles you can grow the team that you want and retain the exceptional employees that make your business grow.

These insights are simply those of a professional trader. I love my team, the company, the environment and everything stands for. Trading applies to make aspects of life, folks. It's my mission to enlighten the world with the idea that becoming a professional trader is about the journey to and the transformation into the person we need to be in order to trade successfully. From business owner to employee, from CFO to CSR, from the morning shift to the grave yard shift, this life is a splendid one, folks! Love it, live it, trade it! Welcome to Real Life Trading!

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