How to Keep Talented Employees – In the Roaring Fork Valley and Beyond
A key to a successful business is retaining talented and experienced employees. Few things in business are as costly and disruptive as loosing key employees in your organization. This rings true especially for the Roaring Fork Valley, where the talent pool is limited from purely a numbers standpoint. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the average turnover rate is close to 9 percent per year, but it’s more than double that in a seasonal resort community like Aspen, Basalt, and the lower valley. So what can a business do to retain their employees and keep things running smoothly?
Not everyone can be the person in charge or a supervisor since there are a finite number of “upper-level” positions in the Valley. To keep your talented and experienced employees, they need to be engaged and excited about their work. They need to be influencing decisions, solving problems and making a bigger impact. And while this traditionally comes with formal promotions, advancement can also be accomplished with evolving job descriptions and responsibilities. Checking in with employees to get their ideas related to business practices and policies will help them feel valued and will allow their voices to be heard – thus giving them a stake in the success of the business.
The best leaders don’t take credit – they give it. A simple pat on the back or “job well done” goes a long way in terms of motivation and productivity for employees – not to mention the overall moral of an organization. Simple gestures such as brining in snacks, hosting a luncheon, or awarding certificates when goals are reached can incentivize employees to keep working hard. When employees get positive feedback they feel more emotionally connected to the leaders and the company; thus, they are less likely to jump ship.
The desire to make more money is a very common cause for employees to leave their jobs. Whether they can actually secure a new position with a higher compensation package is yet to be proven – but the yearning is ever present in the valley because of the incredibly high cost of living. A study done by WorldatWork, the Hay Group, and Loyola University found that 83% of organizations will pay key employees above the going market rate to keep them, and 73% say this is an effective retention strategy. Obviously this has to work with the bottom line, but if it costs approximately 50-200% of an employee’s annual salary… Well, the extra compensation could well be worth it in the long run.
Erika Anderson, a Forbes Magazine contributor and national known leadership coach, believes lack of clarity is one of the reasons people leave organizations, period. Employees need to know the reason for what they’re doing and how they contribute to the vision of your company. If you are clear about what you want to accomplish as an organization and enlist the support of your staff to help bring the vision to life – people will not only stay, but thrive.
The U.S. and many international marketplaces have been dealing with multiple generations in the workforce since the beginning of capitalism. This already challenging dynamic is becoming more complex as the average retirement age skyrockets. Thanks to the financial crash in 2008, many Baby Boomers are forced to work, at least part time, well in to their seventies. According to the Labor Force Demographic Data and the Bureau of Labor, by 2014, nearly one-third of the total U.S. workforce (32%) will be age 50 or older. This will be a significant increase from 27 percent in 2005. With Generation Y or Millennials beginning careers, it means the number of working generations has reached an all time high.
So what is the big deal with 22 year-olds working with 67 year-olds? The issue is summed up by the age-old term – the generation gap. This phrase is used to describe how older and younger generations have different interests and communication styles in one moment (i.e. parents and their children). Traditionally the “gap” resolves itself as the child grows up and becomes very similar to their parents. This paradigm has shifted dramatically in the post-Baby Boomer era. Generational replication is not happening for young adults have different values, ideas, perspectives, work and communications styles than their ancestors – causing a true shift in how generations relate to one another.
At work, generational differences can affect nearly everything, including recruiting and hiring, building teams, dealing with change, motivating, and managing. With such a variety of people with a wide range of ideals, values, and goals – there are bound to be miscommunications and misunderstandings. This causes tension and adversely affects moral, employee interaction and productivity.
Understanding who people are and where they come from is paramount to navigating the multi-generational workplace. Obviously you must be careful not to stereotype individuals based on when they were born, but studies show there are commonalities in viewpoints, values and behavior in generations. The nomenclature may vary but below is a generational grouping snapshot:
- Veterans, World War II, Traditionalists – born 1922-1945, value conformity, discipline, one-on-one communication, the radio shaped their worldview, they “make do or do without” and were able to sacrifice
- Baby Boomers – born 1946-1964, the largest generation ever, competitive and job focused, all about paying your dues, optimistic, want to change the world, influenced by the advent of television
- Generation X – born 1965-1980, informal, skeptical and independent (latchkey kids), take care of themselves and results-driven, always asks “why”, influenced by the advent of the computer
- Generation Y or Millennials – born 1981-2000 – a social generation on many levels, confident, flexible, love technology, want feedback, serve the community and achieve NOW, communicate via email and connect 24/7, the internet rules all
Suggestions for the Workplace
Being aware of inter-generational troubles is one thing, but truly addressing and managing them is another. The biggest and first step is to truly accept that all people, especially individuals from different generations, are different than you. It sounds so elementary but we get caught up in our own egocentricity and forget that everyone has a valid and varied perspective on the world and therefore on the way they communicate in and out of the workplace. Below are a few tactics that are based on this foundational idea.
No blanket communication strategies
You simply must adjust the mode and language in which you communicate based on the generation and the individual. Boomers may prefer to communicate by phone or in person. Millennials grew up being in constant communication with peers and coworkers so are accustomed to emailing, texting or sending instant messages. Figure out what works best for the recipient, not your favorite method.
Offer different working options like telecommuting and working offsite. Focus on the results employees produce rather than on how they get it done. This will give employees some flexibility on how they want to work and put everybody, regardless of where they spent most of their time working, on the same scale to measure success. Telecommuting can also encourage Boomers nearing retirement to stay on staff longer since the option allows them to ‘gear down’ their workloads.
Dealing with changing work/life balance
It is easy to judge a Millennial for taking the afternoon off on a sunny day to take a bike ride or hit the ski hill for some turns, when your background as a Baby Boomer is all about dedication to a profession and “working to live”. Conversely Generation Xer’s might think Veterans “don’t have a life” and take work a bit too seriously. Once again we have to honor the work ethic and values of everyone. As long as the work gets done, does it matter?
Mentoring is somewhat a lost art in the modern working world. Supporting mentoring programs and structures in organizations increase cross generational interaction and has a host of positive benefits. Older workers have expertise and wisdom to share while younger employees have a fresh perspective and typically an incredible grasp on technology. Putting together brainstorming sessions from all age levels means more viewpoints and more creativity. Why not capitalize on the differences rather than be hindered by them.
Harvard Business Review
The Center for Association Leadership
AARP Leading in a Multigenerational Workforce
Fairleigh Dickenson University – Generation Research
With all of the electronic “clutter” in todays world, we tend to get distracted from doing the important things. Here are 5 ways to deal with that clutter
- Reduce inbox volume. It has been reported that the typical business owner gets 100-200 emails per day. If you spend just 2 minutes on each email, that’s a lot of time! Save time by reducing the volume of email you receive. Unsubscribe to lists that clutter your inbox. If there are subscriptions that you want to receive but typically don’t have time to get to them right away, use filters so they will go directly into designated folders to look at later. And most important, touch email only once!
- Improve emails that you send. Start using shorter, more efficient messages in your email. When possible, simply put your message in the subject line and leave the body blank. When you send an email to multiple people at once, if possible, tell them to NOT “reply all.” This will help others reduce their email volume too. Another way to avoid multiple back-and-forth email strings is to use the phone more often.
- Clean up your inbox. Most inbox programs offer you the capability to create folders. Use this feature to create an efficient filing system for email. Create categories to keep emails where they will be easily retrievable.
- Limit the time you spend online, especially on social media. Be intentional about your online activities. Enough said.
- Process your “stuff” quickly. Every day we get bombarded with “stuff.” It just comes our way. Use the 2-minute rule…if you can execute on this item in 2 minutes or less, do it NOW! If it is going to take longer than that, put it on your To Do list for later.
Insider Tips from Gary Hartman, local Growth Coach
This is an issue across the globe, but is particularly challenging in a transient area like Aspen, Colorado. The Roaring Fork Valley is a dream residence for many people, but the seasonal work fluctuations, the limited number of companies and thus opportunities, and the incredibly high cost of living are deterrents for long-term stays. So when you do find that perfect employee, how do you keep them happy, content and never wanting to leave your organization? We recommend investing in your staff so they feel valued and appreciated. This might be benefits or “perks” like a ski pass which is one of many great reasons to stay at Aspen Snowmass Ski Company. We strongly suggest encouraging professional development and continued education with complementary classes at Colorado Mountain College. They have an incredible program called Customized Business Services that ” improve employees’ performance by providing them high-quality, affordable training and development opportunities.” In addition they have credit and noncredit classes that are great for professional development. Your employee broadens their skill set and expertise while developing loyalty, and your organization gets to harness these new talents. It truly is a win-win and a great way to retain talent! Photo courtesy of CMC.
“Get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.” Jim Collins’ quote from his book Good to Great has become famous because of its power and truth. Finding the perfect fit for all positions in your organization is challenging at best. You spend countless hours recruiting, interviewing and finally hiring – only to find after investing in training, the employee really isn’t cut out for the job. The good news is there are simple tools that can increase your chances of making a good hire. One we highly recommend is the ProScan – a web based profile to uncover a candidate’s individual, personal strengths. Local business Growth Coach Gary Hartman administers the 7 minute survey and spends 30 minutes with you explaining the results. He states, “My clients have used the ProScan as a way to confirm a hiring decision, or in helping to choose between 2 candidates. It can also be an extremely powerful way to supercharge your Team, helping improve communications or matching the right people to the right jobs.” The cost of the test and the consulting is only $75 per person.
Small businesses typically don’t have a dedicated human resources employee, much less an entire department. This means a staff member that is not a HR specialist is responsible for compensation and benefits that may include payroll, employee evaluations, job analysis; HR management which includes the policies, procedures, labor relations, attendance, and conflict resolution; staffing and recruitment; and orientation and training of employees. This situation is not rare, but it is an accident waiting to happen. Why not leave HR to the experts. Just because you don’t have the budget for a full-time position doesn’t mean you can’t have the very best. Companies like SCI – HR Shared Services that provide pay rolling, pay as you go workers compensation, and other HR services are perfect solutions.
Many companies are using firewalls, company policies and scare tactics to keep employees away from using social media in the workplace. They think of it as a distraction and a time-suck for non-work related activity during company business hours. The reality is Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and many other internet based tools are contemporary communication channels that, when used right, can be incredibly effective. Instead of banning the inevitable – why not harness the power to do some quality HR work?? Below are just a couple suggestions for effective application. And if you need any help executing them, local search and social marketers a2 Interactive Media is the go-to firm.
- Internal Communication – blogs, videos and podcasts are great ways to disseminate information about trainings, benefit updates, events, etc.
- Employee Interaction – Accounting firm Ernst & Young LLP recently created a Facebook page called Ernst & Young Connects, where more than 5,400 employees can share experiences and opinions about things such as the intern program, the chairman’s values or updates from the managing partner.
- Recruitment – utilize LinkedIn and other social networks to attract incredible talent world-wide, reduce costs and enhance the recruitment experience for candidates
- Brand Building – most organizations think of their online presence as a branding tool for their “customers” only, but the truth is it also is the face of your company for potential hires. It is a great way for job seekers to get a good feel for who you are as a company.
This is worth mentioning again for it plagues the valley. There are four plus months out of the year when staffs significantly cut back, business slows dramatically and some organizations even shut their doors. Some businesses allow personnel to claim unemployment during these times. The majority are simply on their own to find other ways to make ends meet. There is no perfect solution to this bi-annual phenomenon but temporary staffing sure can help you beef up your crew in times of need without the long-term commitment of full-time employees. Hot Jobs temp and temp to hire personnel services are ideal for resort communities like Aspen, Colorado.
YOUR BRAIN AT WORK from Inc. Magazine by Geil Browning
It’s impossible to talk about motivation without mentioning Drive, a book by best-selling author Daniel Pink. Pink notes that people perform best when they are given autonomy, opportunity for mastery, and the belief that their task is meaningful.
Pink believes Google’s “20% time,” in which employees may spend one day a week on whatever they want is a shining example of how allowing intrinsically based motivations can flourish.
There’s no question that intrinsic motivation is essential. A skillful entrepreneur keeps employees motivated with a combination of both.
What inspires one person may leave the next cold. When you understand an employee’s thinking and behavioral preferences, you’ll be able to maximize his or her enthusiasm. This will help you get you workforce aligned and moving in the same direction, and you’ll see incredible returns.
1. Analytical types want to know that a project is valuable, and that their work makes a difference to its success. They need a leader who excels in a particular area, and whose expertise they believe benefits the group. They prefer compensation that is commensurate with their contribution. If they have done a tremendous amount of work on their own, don’t expect them to be happy if you reward the whole team.
2. People whoa are “structural” by nature want to know their work aids the company’s progress. They prefer a leader who is organized, competent, and good with details. They like to be rewarded in writing, in a timely manner, in a wa specific to the task. An encouraging e-mail is appropriate to communicate with them.
3. Social people want to feel personally valued, and that what they are doing has an impact on a project. They go the extra mile for a leader who expresses faith in their abilities. They prefer to be rewarded in person with a gesture that is from the heart. If you own preference is for written communication, send a handwritten note to a particularly social employee.
4. Innovative employees must buy into a cause. To them, the big picture matters more than the individual who is leading the charge. They prefer to be rewarded with something unconventional and imaginative, and would find a whimsical token of your esteem ver meaningful.
5. Quiet staffers don’t need a lot of fanfare, but they appreciate private, one-on-one encouragement.
6. Expressive people feel more motivated when assignments are openly discussed and an open door is available. They like public recognition, with pomp, and ceremony.
7. Peacekeepers hope everyone will move in the same direction. They’ll never demand a reward or recognition, so it’s up tp you to offer it.
8. Hard-drivers are independent thinkers. If they agree with you, they’ll be highly motivated. They will let you know what they’d like as an extrinsic reward, and they tend to want whatever it is right away.
9. Those who are focused team members must have confidence in the leader and in the project, or their motivation may falter. They want to know up front what kind of reward they can expect. Make sure you follow through on whatever is promised.
10. Flexible people go along with the team, as long as a project does not contradict their morals or beliefs. They’re also happy with any kind of recognition.
Sales Source by Geoffrey James, INC. Magazine
1. Business in an ecosystem, not a battlefield.
Average bosses see business as a conflict between companies, departments and groups. They build huge armies of “troops” to order about, demonize competitors as “enemies,” and treat customers as “territory” to be conquered.
Extraordinary bosses see business as a symbiosis where the most diverse firm is most likely to survive and thrive. They naturally create teams that adapt easily to new markets and can quickly form partnerships with other companies, customers and even competitors.
2. A company is a community, not a machine.
Average bosses consider their company to be a machine with employees as cogs. They create rigid structures with rigid rules and then try to maintain control by “pulling levers” and steering the ship.”
Extraordinary bosses see their company as a collection of individual hopes and dreams, all connected to a higher purpose. They inspire employees to dedicate themselves to the success of their peers and therefore to the community.
3. Management is service, not control
Average bosses want employees to do exactly what they’re told. They’re hyper-aware of anything that smacks of insubordination and create environments where individual initiative is squelched by the “wait and see what the boss says’ mentality.
Extraordinary bosses set a general direction and then commit themselves to obtaining the resources that their employees need to get the job done. They push decision-making downward, allowing teams form their own rules and interviewing only in emergencies.
4. My employees are peers, not my children.
Average bosses see employees as inferior, immature beings who simply can’t be trusted if not overseen by a patriarchal management. Employees take their cues from the attitude, expend energy on looking busy and covering their behinds.
Extraordinary bosses treat every employees as if he or she were the most important person in the firm. Excellence is expected everywhere, from the loading dock to the boardroom. As a result, employees at all levels take charge of their own destinies.
5. Motivation comes from vision, not from fear.
Average bosses see fear–of getting fired, of ridicule, of loss of privilege–as a crucial way to motivate people. As a result, employees and managers alike become paralyzed and unable to make risky decisions.
Extraordinary bosses inspire people to see a better future and how they’ll be a part of it. As a result, employees work harder because they believe in the organization’s goals, truly enjoy what they’re doing and know they’ll share in the rewards.
6. Change equals growth, not pain.
Average bosses see change as both complicated and threatening, something to be endured only when a firm is in desperate shape. They subconsciously torpedo change.
Extraordinary bosses see change as an inevitable part of life. While they don’t value change for its own sake, they know that success is only possible if employees and organization embrace new ideas and new ways of doing business.
7. Technology offers empowerment, not automation.
Average bosses adhere to the old IT-centric view that technology is primarily a way to strengthen management control and increase predictability. They install centralized computer systems that dehumanize and antagonize employees.
Extraordinary bosses see technology as a way to free human beings to be creative and to build better relationships. They adapt their back-office systems to the tools, like smartphones and tablets, that people actually want to use.
8. Work should be fun, not mere toil.
Average bosses buy into the notion that works is, at best, a necessary evil. They fully expect employees to resent having to work, and therefore tend to subconsciously define themselves as oppressors and their employees as victims. Everyone then behaves accordingly.
Extraordinary bosses see work as something that should be inherently enjoyable and believe therefore that the most important job of manager is, as far as possible, to put people in jobs that can and will make them truly happy.
Liability is a concern to all corporations and can diminish profits as well as affect employee morale. The US equal employment opportunity commission “EEOC” announced an increase in complaints of retaliation for the 2nd year in a row. This surpasses complaints regarding violations of title the VII (discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion and national origin)
Most retaliation suits are filed by employees who claim their bosses fired or mistreated them after they filed a discrimination claim or participated in a “whistle blowing” activity.
For an employee to assert a retaliation claim the following must be present. 1. The employee participated in a protective activity acting against unlawful activity. There was adverse employment action present (denial of a raise or termination, and there is a connection between the employees involvement in the protective activity and the adverse action from the employer).
Reasons for Increase in Retaliation
There are several proposed contributors for the increase in retaliation claims. A difficult economy, increasing employment rate has caused many employees to stay at their job instead of seeking employment else where when they are not pleased with the job activities and retaliate through unlawful employment practices. More employees would rather challenge their employer practices and decisions instead of changing their jobs.
A second contributor is an increased understanding of the laws governing retaliation by employees. Retaliation claims are often easier to prove then discrimination or harassment claims. Additionally in 2006 the US Supreme Court lowered the standers to win a retaliation claim under Federal and anti-discrimination laws specifically the court determined that the employer took an action that “might have dissuaded (to persuade a person not to do something) a reasonable worker from making or supporting a charge of discrimination.”
With soaring statistics in 2010 and now in 2011, evidence shows that retaliation complaints will continue to grow in 2012.
Ways to Avoid Retaliation
- All employee manuals should have procedures to follow when a retaliation claim is made. The employee manuals should always be signed by the employees before the employee begins working for the company in which states that the employee has read and understands the following procedures of the manual.
- Employers should research and become familiar with the laws governing retaliation.
- Employers can mandate a Zero Tolerance Policy for retaliation.
- All rise complaints should be kept confidential during the investigation to avoid the practice of retaliation.
- All employee concerns should be brought forth and handled in a fair and consistent matter. This illustrates that every employee is governed under the same policies and procedures.
Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook has been getting quite of bit of coverage recently, praising leaving the office at 5:30. She just recently has become public with this fact. Sandberg felt the need to hide the fact from her colleagues due to she did not feel they would have found this to be acceptable.
However there has been a century of research establishing the fact that working more than a 40 hour work week actually decreases productivity.
In the early 1900s, Ford Motor ran a dozen tests on their employees work productivity. Ford Motors discovered that the “sweet spot” is 40 hour work week and that while adding another 20 hours provides a minor increase in productivity, that an increase only will last for three to four work weeks, and then turns work productivity will turn negative.
Even though times have changed it has been found that factory workers a hundred years ago is still often true for the productivity of the office workers today.
Many times the workaholics may think they’re accomplishing more however, in many cases the long hours result in work that must be scrapped and redone.
Europe’s Ban on 50-Hour Weeks
In six of the top 10 most competitive countries in the world (Sweden, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, and the United Kingdom), it is illegal to demand more than a 48 hour work week. You simply don’t see the 50, 60, and 70 hour work weeks that we see in the US business world.
August 10, 2016
Kathryn Consoli provides an outstanding service with quality people.
Jodi Smith, Pitkin County Manager
August 31, 2016
I’m very thankful to Kathryn for presenting me with the opportunity to work at Pitkin County this summer. As a staffing professional, Kathryn provided me with everything I needed to know before I started my admin job and provided on-going support to me throughout the project. This position allowed me to use and hone my skills and provided me the income I needed to finally buy a house. I’m very grateful.
Kari McMurray, A TTP, Inc. employee
Kathryn Consoli was my first real boss at TTP, Inc. 20 years ago. S…he taught me everything from recruiting people, marketing a business, running an office, being professional, sales, networking, what to wear, how to shake hands, eye contact, how to present yourself, how to carry yourself, being organized…..she was my mentor in the work industry and plays a huge part with the woman I have become. Everything that I have learned and know about a business starts with her. She’s an extremely intelligent, strong yet kind woman. Anyone working with her will be lucky to have her as a boss and person in their lives! I am gratful and honored that she came into my life. I don’t even think she realizes how special and important she is in my life! If only her company was back in Florida!!!…..Thank you Kathy……….HUGS!!! 😊
Elizabeth Licata, A TTP, Inc. employee
I would like to take this time to thank you for the wonderful service you provide. Although my current schedule has picked up nicely, the hiatus that was filled temping helped a great deal. I find your services very professional, it was a pleasure to deal with you and I wanted to let you know it. In a business as seasonal as mine, you have to always be willing to seek work, even when the season is slow. If I will do temp work in the future, I certainly will work with you again.
Gina, A TTP, Inc. employee