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.
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.
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
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.
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