As an employee retention speaker and employee retention trainer, I’m often working with general managers, presidents and plant managers about how to retain people, so they can run their business. They are always looking to have people who stay with them but are also fired up and engaged in what the business does because they know if their employees are like that, it will make a difference on the bottom line. Then, when this employee retention author asks them what they are doing to educate the majority of employees, I hear silence. In fact, I hear deafening silence. Why? Because they aren’t doing anything to educate their employees on the basics of how the business runs. I’m not talking about how an employee does their job but about the employees understanding of the business.
Even when I was an HR leader, had I known then what I know now as a business owner, I would have made better decisions that would have benefitted the business. If you want your people to feel a part of the business, tell them how it really works. I find the best way to do that is to relate the business to how they run their own personal finances and then expand the explanation, so they see how it applies to the business and the decisions they make when at work.
Let’s take an example. Buying in quantity to take advantage of discounts without ending up with obsolete material is important. I worked with a CFO who explained it like buying meat at the store for your family and storing it in the freezer to be thawed and eaten later. You look for the deals, so you can save money but don’t want to buy too much so that it doesn’t get old and you have to throw it out. You have to plan a bit and think ahead. Buying steel is the same way. You buy in quantity to take advantage of discounts but don’t buy so much that it becomes obsolete and has to be thrown out. People can relate to that and start to think about how their actions impact the business and that THEY have an impact.
Once someone realizes they do make an impact, they feel good about what they do and become more engaged in the business. Employee engagement helps to drive employee retention while benefiting the business. The two go hand in hand. The key isn’t to assume people make the connection. Explain it to them. That’s what will get people off the bench and into the game. Use education to help drive employee engagement and employee retention. It’s time to stop complaining about your employees not understanding the business and do something about it. Teach your employees the business.