White began, “A lot of attention is placed on finding and hiring the best employees, but the reason that’s necessary is because someone left. Good people leave because of managers, so we are going to look at ways to keep employees engaged and committed."
White defined the course’s objectives as identifying ways to keep the best employees, realizing the impact owners and managers have on the work environment, and creating strategies that foster an environment of trust, engagement and respect. White then corrected himself and instead identified employees as team members, since the word “employee” introduces a hierarchy, and people want to work with others, not for them, and know they’re part of something that makes a difference.
A company’s culture is determined by how team members are made to feel at work, and while all companies have a culture, most are created by circumstances and reactions, whereas White encouraged attendees to create a company culture intentionally.
White warned that team members can smell a gimmick, which will make them feel undervalued and unappreciated. Instead, shop owners should strive to create an environment that fosters trust, inclusivity and respect.
“People want to do work that matters for people who care about them,” White said. “Your staff members are internal customers who are there to help your external customers. Make your team your first priority, and you’ll create an environment where people come and never leave.”
White worked his way through the alphabet, explaining how to create this type of culture.
“Appreciating team members” was the first step to workplace improvements. White stressed the importance of development, goals, training and mentorship as well as balance with personal lives and having fun at work. Questions help managers understand their team members’ thoughts, and creating a dialogue makes them feel valuable.
White concluded, “The biggest challenge is taking time to create a culture. You’ll be met with suspicion, so you have to be patient and show team members they really matter. What you want, you must first give. There are great people out there, and if you create the right culture where they want to come and stay, no one can lure them away!”