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You can let good employees go. Here's how to keep them happy so they stay with your company for longer periods of time.

How To Keep Good Employees Happy

While many business owners say that the first rule of a successful company is keeping customers happy, studies show that also keeping employees happy is critical to the whole process. The better a business owner and upper management treat good employees, the more committed and engaged they will be to perform at a consistently high level and do their part to help make the business successful. 

“The big key to business success is the productivity level of your employees and the culture in which they operate,” says Paul Trapp, founding owner and CEO of EventPrep, Inc., a full-service meeting planning and management company, and co-author with Stephen Davis of Prep for Success: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Achieving Your Dreams. “Employee happiness results directly in success and goes hand-in-hand with company culture. The primary focus of leadership in that culture should be making sure their employees are happy, safe, respected, and making a competitive wage.”

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 If you get it right with your employees, Trapp and Davis say, they’ll get it right with the customer. “It’s simple, really,” says Davis, who is EventPrep’s founding owner, president, and COO. “The folks you bring on board are going to spend a significant amount of time with their work family, so why wouldn’t the people running the business want it to be a cool place to work, and why wouldn’t they want it to be the most productive place they could possibly make it?” Trapp and Davis explain the key factors that find the right employees and keep them happy and productive:   

 Recruiting 

“You’ve got to get the right people first, the people with the qualities that make for a passionate, productive worker who contributes to a positive culture,” Davis says. “Recruiting is about connecting with people and connecting them with their passion, their purpose, and enabling them to reach their potential. Recruiting isn’t an event, but a process, and sometimes finding the right person for a particular job can take months or even years. You’re always looking, listening, assessing and asking questions — and really getting to know the person you may hire.” 

Establishing a culture 

“You want people to want to come to work, and to do that you want people to work in the culture you’re creating,” Trapp says. “Culture is created at the top and cascades downward. What values and ethics do you have as a business owner that can make employees passionately want to be a part of that culture?” 

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Investing in them

 ”Investing in your people raises their performance and strengthens their commitment, but it means far more than giving them raises,” Davis says. “It’s about making them feel like a part of your family, including giving them compassion and understanding when they need it most. Employees, in turn, embrace that kind of culture and own it. That’s what you want — a self-perpetuating work culture where everyone feels cared for and important.” 

Recognizing them

 “Keeping people happy and encouraging them to want to stay isn’t magic,” Trapp says. “Just as important as recruiting the right talent, business owners and leaders need to make the culture attractive and sustainable in order to retain the right talent. Retaining is about recognizing and celebrating, showing gratitude and appreciation. Recognizing employees for exceptional work, and giving them a cash bonus or special trip, is a key element toward retaining them.” “A happy employee who’s engaged and connected, who wants to be there every day, makes the workplace a better place and a stronger business,” Davis says.

About Paul Trapp Paul Trapp is a founding owner/CEO of EventPrep, Inc. (www.eventprep.com), a full-service meeting planning and management company that supports 16 franchises across the U.S. He is co-author of the book Prep for Success: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Achieving Your Dreams. Trapp is a former senior military leader who served as chief of recruiting for the Army National Guard and holds over 30 years of experience in contract management, event planning, and organizing conferences, seminars, and meetings. 

About Stephen Davis Stephen Davis is a founding owner/president/COO of EventPrep, Inc., and co-author of  Prep for Success: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Achieving Your Dreams. Davis is a multi-state operations director who focuses on conference development, implementation, management, and conference design. He currently serves as a chief warrant officer and CID special agent in the Army Reserves. Davis deployed twice in support of the global war on terrorism. In 2016, Davis and Paul Trapp launched  Federal Conference, Inc., which provided professional event planning and management services to the government and commercial marketplaces. Federal Conference, Inc., twice was a two-time Inc. 500 award recipient and executes over 3,000 events annually around the world.

Comments (2)

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    C. Jensen

    This all makes sense but appears to be geared more towards small to mid-sized businesses. Enterprise businesses typically have slow moving processes and not as many pay/bonus options available to management. Keeping people motivated is a difficult job when your options are limited, especially when employees expect to be promoted every 6 months across the younger generations. Even so, I agree that creating a positive culture that is rewarding, investing in decent workspaces, and focusing on recognition all contribute to employee satisfaction. Work life balance is another thing I would add to the above, burn out is a very real threat to employee retention and happiness. Employers must focus on balance and be careful to not expect people to work ridiculous hours, it has been proven that working long hours does make anyone more productive, they are just warming up seats at that point. Allow them to work remotely once a week minimum if possible and encourage them to take vacations and then share their experience with the team when they return, this will reinforce that the company supports work life balance.

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    RC

    I agree with the commenter:

    Work-Life Balance: Never underestimate how much that matters — these days more than ever. In order to value your job, you HaVE to be able to Enjoy life after hours. And make sure you have ANY hours after work to enjoy.

    Pay people what they’re worth: There is an exodus at jobs. When a company gets by seeing how little they can employ people for, those people will seek options. If you treat employees like they’re a dime a dozen, bear in mind the company with this Unspoken Core Value is also a Dime A Dozen. The good people will walk — and will easily replace you, Company.

    The trips: Strangely, this carries a lot of weight. If your employer sends you and your significant other(s) on the occasional “thank you” trip, then that company just Bought itself extra Loyalty. The “gift” is actually an “investment”.

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