the Employee / Employer Relationship
Story Time. It was 1989, I was EVP of a large full service Landscape company with 5 offices, 125 employees making up 25 crews and we serviced 92 apartment complexes, 112 office complexes with three divisions, Lawn maintenance, Landscape design and installation, and Irrigation. Derik was my best foreman! He was always on time. He always went the extra mile. He was the leader of leaders. Over the course a couple of years, I became very dependent on Derik and his ability to accomplish the un-accomplishable. His attitude was always positive, helpful and he put the company first. Derik was a model employee.
One hot late afternoon after another exhausting day, Derik told me he needed to talk to me after everyone left. Oh no, I thought to myself. This can only mean one thing. I have to replace the irreplaceable. As expected, Derik gave me two weeks notice. I listened and tried not to over react. I knew I had to find a way to keep him. But it wasn’t more money. It wasn’t fewer hours. It wasn’t more time off. It wasn’t better working conditions. Derik explained that he had always wanted to be in the medical field and he had saved enough money over the past two years to begin nursing school. I was a bit shocked but extremely proud that Derik wanted to do some thing better with his life.
Of course I shared my enthusiasm for his newly shared goal. I began asking a few questions. When do you start classes? When are the classes, What time do you start? What time do you finish? What is your weekly schedule? What are the holiday breaks? I learned he had to be at class at 9 am, and was typically out by 3:30 each day. He also had the normal semester breaks and holidays. Then I asked, how do you plan to make money while you are going to school? He told me he was planning to get a restaurant job and work in the evenings? We then talked about how much money he would make with that job.
That’s when it hit me! The answer was a flexible part time schedule. I could pay him the little more than he could make part time at a restaurant and he would still have evenings for his family. He was willing to come into work at the normal 6:30 am to help get the crews lined out and leave by 8:00 am to get to class, then come back at 4:00 after class and make sure everything was tied up at the end of the day and leave by 6.
I asked if he would be willing to continue to work with us part time. He was ecstatic! He never thought about that. He assumed he would have to quit and move on. The marriage lasted another 2 years until he finished his nursing program and secured full time employment in his field of choice. I call it a marriage because that is the way I see it. (Flex-time is common today, but in 1989 it was genius!)
As an employer you should know what you employees goals are. Especially in the sales arena! If you don’t know what they are you don’t know how to help them accomplish what they want personally. First, you must accept that not everyone wants to stay with your company forever! You must put your employees first! Your company is merely the vehicle they choose either by conscious choice of by default to provide the lifestyle they have chosen. When you help employees develop stronger personal goals and tie those goals to the company goals you have a fantastic marriage!
Studies show that sales and business development employees have an average tenure of 18 months. That’s ok. My goal as an employer and a leader is to help them and us all get the most out of the 18 months. If you’re interested here is a White Paper on Sales Longevity and New Salesperson Return on Investment.
Your sales will soar when this is applied. Don’t take my word for it. Do it and prove me wrong. If you want help with a comprehensive Sales Goals Development program just click here.