Retaining Your Best People and Aligning Your Team
Every entrepreneur worries about losing their good people. There usually isn’t enough stock or options to tie in everyone you don’t want to lose—and even those mechanisms don’t always work as planned. How have you seen companies try to retain key people—even when these folks might be targeted by competitors?
Keith's experience in business and professional services spans 30 years across functions and industries. He has been president of operating divisions in 4 different Fortune 500 companies, with equal time spent in sales/marketing roles as well as COO and other strategic leadership responsibilities. He is a Certified Sales Trainer, Executive Coach and Six Sigma Black Belt.
"This is a real challenge for a company’s culture. Owner/entrepreneurs---who build solid businesses with positive cultures that give employees meaningful challenge, recognition and merit-based growth opportunities--typically don't have retention issues. Company leaders must stick to a commitment to build a culture based on these values. They must dedicate time, effort and creativity to this effort—and demonstrate commitment to it every day by their actions."
Michael has a track record as an effective CEO, CFO and senior executive of small and large companies, private and public, domestic and international. He utilizes a detail oriented, interactive systems approach to board, management, financial, geographical, and environmental issues.
"Free food, stock options and ping pong tables are all benefits that can be listed in a chart and compared against a competitor. A good employee will stay not only for the benefits, but also for the culture of the company, the people, the challenge ahead."
Bill is an accomplished CEO with a history of leading large and mid-sized companies through complex challenges, maintaining profitability and liquidity while expanding into new growth markets.
"Include key employees in important conversations with company leaders. What's our situation? What ought to be our objectives? How should we plan to attain them? How are we performing against the plans we have in place? What should we be thinking about for down the road? When a person recognizes they've been invited in as a “co-author” of the company’s future they know that's something that would be hard to find in another job. It meets a personal need that high achievers have to earn recognition."
Tony Cord brings to Newport an accomplished background as a practice leader, growth driver, board member and advisor to mid-market, emerging growth and PE sponsors. He leads Newport's Mid-Atlantic Practice.
"It's not money. It’s building a great culture celebrating diversity and inclusion, positive community impact and offering perks and benefits that are tailored to employee needs. These days, innovative companies are looking to service providers for software driven platforms that can survey employees to determine what they need, and more importantly, what they want and then delivering those perks and benefits. You also need data to capture metrics that measure happiness, retention and key cultural metrics. All these tactics can enhance the effectiveness of your human capital spend."
Kim Denney is an experienced Houston area leader with a record of solving top-level problems as an executive with broad responsibilities in the Chemical, Petrochemical, Energy, and Manufacturing industries.
"The reality is that companies really do need to hire for culture at the outset. And they need to train people how to interview in order to choose the correct employees to begin with. I've seen many companies make mistakes from the beginning. If the right people are brought in, they stay because they are paid fairly, they love their work and those they work with, but most of all they stay because they like their boss. The key is to make sure that you train all supervisors how to be terrific leaders and help them to do their jobs well. If someone is a poor leader and cannot or will not improve, it is imperative that you move them to a job they are good at so that their team can have the manager that they deserve. An excellent supervisor/manager is worth their weight in gold. Find the best ones you can and help them be successful. That's the key to keeping your best employees."
Fred has been successful both as an executive and an entrepreneur. Much of his career has been spent in different sectors of the healthcare industry.
"Culture is crucial. So is having a clearly defined and articulated company mission, goals and set of values that are articulated and that everyone embodies in their daily activities and in how they treat fellow workers and customers. The options and compensation only go so far. I worked with a successful CEO who used to look key candidates in the eye and tell them: "don't come here to change your job; come here to change your life." And he embodied that in how he approached work and co-workers every day. Of course, one of those values (along with integrity, professionalism and trust) was fun. On a weekly basis we had a corporate office down time (Chardonnay Friday at 3:00 pm) that included everyone from the CEO down to the receptionist. A time to unwind, toss around ideas, and interact with everyone in the company. Harder to do for a dispersed or virtual company. But all companies that care about retaining key employees should begin by building great interpersonal relationships."
Bill has deep expertise in building and running industrial manufacturing and construction companies.Most recently he was President of Precision Industrial Contractors, which serves the industrial construction market.
"Outside of direct compensation as a retention mechanism, you need to make the work place enjoyable, the job stimulating and the employee recognized."
Sam is a seasoned executive with a proven record of developing and implementing strategies to enhance revenues and profits across a variety of industries. For the last 23 years he was part of the Graytrout Group, a Georgia-based consultancy, where he specialized in assisting clients in redesigning their sales organization and sales management processes.
"Management must understand exactly what reward “carrots” are attractive to each key employee. This reward mix can vary from one employee to the next. It generally boils down to one or more of the three legs of the reward stool: (1) Compensation mix (money, bonuses, stock, etc.); (2) Recognition mix (rewards, awards, status, titles, etc.); and (3) Responsibility mix (authority, projects they get to lead, headcount they get to supervise, etc.)."
Susan is a multidimensional senior operating executive who has generated impressive results across the technology, education, B2B, B2C and social sectors in organizations ranging from start-ups to well established entities. Her approach focuses on engaging stakeholders and building consensus to develop and deploy aggressive sales and marketing strategies, customer retention initiatives and digital solutions.
"Employee retention is not all about money. Recent research from Gallup shows that employees don't leave companies; they leave poor managers and supervisors. Effective managers are critical to the business. So, what is an effective manager? It is someone who takes a personal interest in the employee, who allows her to use her best skills and talents to do the job without micromanaging, who sets clear expectations, and who supports her growth and success."
Lynn has had a diverse career as an executive and advisor. As President and Founder of Lednicky Enterprises, he has provided expert advice to the energy, utility, and infrastructure sectors. His engagements have included M&A support, operational and financial restructuring, renewable energy, project development and financing and advising on production and use of natural gas as a domestic transportation fuel.
"Many employees value belonging to a company whose purpose and customer promise they endorse. If the only thing you have to engage employees is money and perks, you will eventually lose them. Successful entrepreneurs find ways to connect with their employees’ minds and hearts, at a level deeper than dollars."
Margarita is an experienced leader who built a multimillion dollar global business unit, building on roles in engineering, sales and marketing. She has demonstrated expertise in leading global teams to open global markets.
"Research study after research study have shown that employees don’t leave their companies because of compensation. They leave companies because of a bad boss, a feeling they are not appreciated, or lack of opportunities for growth. It is essential for the entrepreneur to constantly share with their teams their passion, vision and commitment to the business."
Mark is a co-founder of Newport Board Group and its Chief Knowledge Officer. He specializes in content management, inbound marketing and thought leadership authoring.
"One way to retain key people is to help them understand what their future role could be when the company starts to grow rapidly. Don't make promises that you can't keep. But do communicate how much you value their contribution to the company and how much they stand to gain if they stick it out. Maximize the value and learning they feel they are getting in their current role, which will help them earn more in the future--hopefully with you."
Eran has diverse experience in executive management, venture capital, private equity and M&A, including turnaround, restructuring and special situation transactions.
"Feeling empowered and having an impact are very important in retaining employees, as well as the working environment and benefits. Good healthcare plan, wellness programs, PTOs, working from home or office flexibility, and community building tools contribute to helping people feel valued."'
How do you retain your best employees? Share your thoughts with us below, and don't forget to download our free guide "Business Growth Challenges Defined: You May Be In No Man's Land."