Business Culture and Keeping Employees

By Thomas Diaz, 365 Pool Service, Inc. / info@365pools.com

It is getting more difficult to find employees to service pools. As business owners, we need to make sure we are taking the right steps to keep the employees we have. I recently read a book about business culture where the author said, “Employees don’t leave companies, they leave bad managers.”1  A truer statement has never been made.

The days of paying someone to work and expecting them to just do their job because they are “lucky” to have one are gone. Expecting employees to consider pay as their only incentive to work is old-school thinking. A recent article written by Entrepreneur Magazine2 showed that employees between the age of 18 to 24 are more interested in community than they are pay. They want a relationship and they want honesty. These employees are the future of the pool industry.

Would you call me insane if I said that company culture is more important than sales? Would you consider me out of touch if I told you that your employees are more important than your customers? I would challenge business owners to treat their employees with just as much zeal as they have for marketing and sales. This means that you must be part of their lives to understand their needs beyond employee/employer relationship, beyond just payroll.

At 365 Pools, I have a saying, “Everyone doesn’t know everything.” We must create an atmosphere where employees can share information with each other. We must create a culture where it is not a failure to not understand how to do something. The only real failure is when we fail because employees are living in fear and innovation does not exist. Your company culture should create opportunities for employees to ask questions and speak into processes, even if the feedback comes from your most entry-level employee. Your job as a leader is to make your employees feel safe to have a voice.

We must create an environment where employees are allowed to make mistakes. Mistakes are going to happen, especially in the pool business. Experience comes from the culmination of mistakes made and then learned from. We must allow our employees to fall forward. I have added many new processes and techniques to the way we do business which has increased our revenue and efficiency, and they were all given to me by employees who were not afraid to voice their ideas.

Every Wednesday at 365 Pools we have an all-hands-on-deck meeting. Normally it covers training, customer issues, and announcements. Quarterly I have a meeting called “Keep, Stop, Start.” The meeting is for employees to voice to management things that we need to keep doing, stop doing and start doing. These meetings provide fresh perspective on my business as an employee sees it. The goal is to empower employees and give them a sense that as the owner I value their thoughts and opinion. Morale is lifted when employees see their own thoughts implemented in a way that makes the company better.

As a business owner, here are few cultures that you need to be aware exist. If any of these cultures seem familiar it’s time to make a change.


The Blame Culture:

In this culture, the objective is never the most important thing. The most important thing is to deduce who to blame. In this culture, employees hate to come to work. This culture stifles innovation because employees wait around to be told what to do out of fear of making a mistake and being blamed.


Clique Culture:

No one in this culture cooperates with each other. Teamwork is diminished. Each clique is only concerned about making its clique look good and the other cliques look bad. Each group is afraid to share ideas with one another for the fear of being wrong.


Live and Let Live Culture:

This culture lives and dies by the status quo. Employees are frustrated by processes that are broken but are never going to change.


Micromanagement Culture:

Management does not trust employees to do anything right. Processes are bottlenecked by helicopter bosses who want to review and rework all projects. Employees are drowning in redundancy.


If any of the above cultures sound familiar, maybe it is time to make a change. Culture starts at the top; leadership sets the tone. At the end of the day, if you take care of your employees, they will in turn take care of your customers.


1Vanderbloemen, W. (2018). Culture Wins: The Roadmap to an Irresistible Workplace. Place of publication not identified: Simon & Schuster.

 2Brody, L. (2021, May 19). Stop Selling to Gen Z. Entrepreneur Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/371561