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You help your clients and customers. It's part of doing business. But do you help your employees?
You depend on your employees. They depend on you. Employees are a vital link between you and your future.
It is a mutually beneficial relationship. Some employees are simply looking for a long-term home. Others are passing through. Either way, it's up to you to train and cross-train every one of them.
Example: Jon runs a printing operation. Mary came on board with some computer experience and lots of ambition. Jon trained her in the activities he had planned for her and then he cross-trained her in other jobs in the operation. Mary absorbed everything and demonstrated a desire to learn even more. Jon called her aside for a private conversation. He began by telling her that she had quickly become his most valuable employee, and that he hoped that she would stay with the operation. However, he told her that she had abilities far beyond what he would ever be able to offer. If she would stay, he would be grateful, but if she wanted to move on, he understood and would gladly help her find and move into a better position elsewhere. Mary stayed on for a while, but subsequently left. Today she works in a large corporation and refers all her printing work to Jon.
Example: Sue took over the family hardware business she inherited. Three of her employees have been with the store for more than 10 years. They know the customers, the hardware business and the products. Sue called everyone together and announced that she was putting in a better retirement plan and added other benefits so that the employees would know that she was there for the long haul--and appreciated them.
Example: Darryl is a hair stylist with an active salon. To expand, he looked for ambitious employees and sent them to a top school for stylists. It paid off. Darryl's salon attracted many clients from a wide area because of the top-flight staff he had put together.
Training and cross-training your employees helps them and helps you. They might stay with your operation for the long term, or they might move on. Either way, it's up to you to help them find themselves.
Business is a living, breathing undertaking. You will not be around forever, and neither will your employees. Make the most of the time you have together.
The secret to having good employees is in the training and cross-training and knowing that they will not be with you forever.