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Are you protecting the most important assets to your business?

Friday, March 24, 2017 - 06:00
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Safeguarding a shop’s assets is an important routine. Setting up internal controls, insuring property, counting inventory, maintaining the equipment and vehicles are all standard things an owner looks after.

But are you protecting your most important and valuable assets — your people? Do you periodically stop and reflect on your supply of highly capable individuals? What are you doing to retain this talent?

The cost of hiring key shop talent is high. It takes time, and even the best searches contain significant risks with potential failure.

It is very easy to be buried in the forest and overlook the people who are performing well. The “reactive” shop owner devotes the bulk of his or her time and energy to those who never quite get it together. You can’t fix broken. The compelling need to fix problems can lead the owner to miss the people who get results. It is not uncommon to see time, effort, procedures and processes neutralize weaknesses rather than capitalize on strength.

How do you ensure that the best talent in the shop is retained?

First identify where the talent exists. Look beyond the chatter and appraise the bottom line produced by each employee. Avoid the sizzle and look for the steak. Without such identification, it is impossible to build in the commitment and retain the talent.

What questions might be asked in order to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to retain the shop’s top talent?

Why have talented people left the shop in the past? The true reasons often are whitewashed because many people focus more on courtesy than true candor in their exit interview. Discuss such factors as compensation, opportunities for growth and personal development. It is critical to find the true reasons. Talented people may be controversial because they demand a lot. People often respond to such individuals by harping about their quirks rather than focusing on results. Investigate tolerance of quirks as a factor in the decision of talented people to leave the shop. Is a focus on conformity, not results, driving talent out of your business? It is well known that good people leave a shop because bad people stay. Is accountability throughout the shop in check?

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Why do talented people stay? What is it about your shop that talented people like? Does your business encourage creativity? Allow freedom? Are they empowered? Is it an exciting place to work? Knowing why will help ensure that other talented people remain with your company.

Are you paying attention to the talented people in your shop? Are you giving enough positive feedback to talented individuals? Talented people need recognition. Do you stay on top of accomplishments so that you can deliver the appropriate encouragement?

Are you consciously putting enough challenges in front of those people who deliver results? Results-oriented people look for more difficult challenges. Determine whether their learning curve is steep enough. But don’t move people on without recognizing accomplishments or life in your shop can seem like an endless treadmill.

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