It's All About Relationships

Posted by Brandon Payne on 05/14/2019

Loyalty in business can be a hard thing to find; especially in today’s hiring market. A study by Deloitte in May[1] of last year showed that 43% of millennials envisioned leaving their jobs within two years, and only 28% are looking to stay beyond five years. With statistics like this how do small businesses and business owners retain crucial young talent? It’s all about your relationship.

I began my insurance career in a call center and it was awful. Not a single person, not even my direct supervisor, showed any type of care or concern to make me feel like I was valued by the company. It didn’t matter who I was, or what I enjoyed; all that mattered was how quickly I could get off one call, and onto the next. So after two years (remember that stat), I left. In pursuing my next position I looked for a role that would allow me to have some level of buy in, some type of ownership, within the company, and I looked for an owner/manager who cared about me as an individual.

That led me to the Brad Willis Agency. I’ve now been with the agency almost 7 years, and in reflecting upon why I’ve remained here for so long, I realized it was because I was valued. Brad understood that I have a life outside of work. Flexibility in scheduling, good compensation (let’s be honest here, money is important), and a flexible PTO schedule were all part of that work/life balance. But ultimately the reason I’ve stayed is the relationship.

Brad has become an invaluable part of my life. He has worked hard to understand, ask questions, and check in with me to make sure he is providing a solid position and create an environment of wanting/enjoying coming to work. He’s been transparent about the wins and challenges the company/agency faces, allowing me to feel involved in the business by brainstorming ways to overcome challenges. There has never been a “my way or the highway” approach. (If there had been, I wouldn’t have stayed). So if you’re a company struggling to retain/hire young talent how do you build that solid relationship?

You do so by asking not once, but multiple times what is important to the employees. What do they want from a job? What do they value most? Many individuals in my generation value their time, their input, and their money. They want to know their ideas are being heard and that their opinions are sought after. Transparency in the work place is key. Pay is important. Finding a way to pay millennials competitively is important. Just as important is the work/life balance. A flexible work schedule with flex hour options can be just as important, if not more, for many individuals when comparing pay and time off.

If you’re not sure how to start retaining talent, start with this. Take them out to lunch, or give them a survey. Ask them; what do you like about this job? What do you not like? And what changes would you like to see that would make this a job you’d like to stay in long term? Listen, take note, allow the employees to provide and give honest feedback. Then implement some of those changes/requests. Doing nothing will only further alienate those individuals you are trying to hire/retain. Show your employees that they matter to you. That will help you build a good long term relationship with your employees.