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Guest Blog: Should your company encourage employees to quit?

I know what you’re thinking: “Encourage employees to quit? That’s ridiculous! Everyone knows how stressful and expensive it is to deal with high turnover!” Stay with me for a minute. Encouraging employee turnover at your company may be the best move you can make to build a hard-working team culture, and it might just boost your bottom line.

My brother and I started a moving company when we were in high school. Because of our school and athletic commitments, we had a hard time finding part-time work that fit around our schedules. We started helping friends’ families move, and soon word began to spread. Years later, we now handle more than 13,000 moves per year, making us the largest independent moving company in California. Our business model remains true to our origin – we hire college athletes as movers and allow them to build their own schedules, affording them the opportunity to work their way through school.

Let’s use Meathead Movers as our case study. In an industry plagued by high turnover rates, we’ve adopted a process that we refer to as “encouraged turnover.” Here’s how it works: when we hire a new mover, we sit down with them to figure out what their long-term goals are. Our mission then becomes equipping them with the skills and mentorship they need to reach those goals. If they want to become an accountant, we’ll let them shadow our accountants. If they want to be a marketer, we’ll get them plugged in with our marketing team.

Along the way, these employees are also exposed to customer service best practices, executing contracts, learning how to manage their peers in high-pressure situations, commercial driving experience and even general professional lessons, such as learning how to tie a tie and balance a checkbook. Once they’ve graduated school and are ready to move on to their desired career path, we’re the first in line to recommend our superstar employees to companies in their field; we even take the step of calling their hiring manager for their next job to offer a recommendation. And when they get the job, we use our own company resources to throw them a celebratory BBQ.

So, how can “encouraged turnover” help your company?

One of the benefits of this managerial style is that it incentivizes employees to work harder. Companies are always trying to stimulate higher performance from their employees. If an employee knows that your desire as the employer is to help them reach their next goal, then it’s in their best interest to turn you into a raving fan. It’s a paradigm shift for the employee, turning a “stepping-stone job” into an important link in the chain to future success. Identifying and supporting employees’ future goals allows Meathead to give context to on-job situations that in other companies could cause an employee to become disgruntled or unmotivated. For example, if an employee comes back from a move super frustrated by a difficult client, our managers can ask “Hey, you want to be a firefighter, right? Do you think you will encounter high stress situations then? View this as an opportunity to learn the skills needed to deal with stressful situations and on-the-spot decision making under pressure.” This will fuel enthusiasm and a greater sense of purpose in what they’re doing. The result at Meathead Movers has been a workforce of people always looking for ways to go above and beyond, knowing their effort will be rewarded in the form of a strong recommendation when it comes time to transition.

Another benefit of “encouraged turnover” is that it lets your employees know that you care about their individual success, not just the success of the company. This will make your employees feel more valued and less dispensable. If you’ve ever worked for an employer that you knew truly wanted you to succeed, then you know how it affected your attitude at work every day. Now contrast that with an experience you’ve had working somewhere that made you feel more like a number than a name. I’m willing to bet that you were more productive for the company that really valued you. Productive employees eliminate waste, and efficiency increases profit.

When you have incentivized employees who feel like their employer values them, you create a culture where people are genuinely excited to work for your company. This is the “team” mentality that great coaches inspire in sports. Teamwork is what wins championships. Even the best athletes know they can’t win without the help of their team. When your employees feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves, you’ll see greater synergy in the office that will lead to even more productivity. Now everyone is a winner!

Now, your employees may already be in the field they want to be in long-term. In that case, you could find out what position they hope to eventually be promoted to and work to prepare them for that role through mentorship, job shadowing, etc.

Through our own experience with “encouraged turnover,” we’ve seen employees go on to become business owners, lawyers, financial advisers and more. The key is communicating this message: “You can reach your dreams, and we want to help you get there.” Of course, they may like working for you so much that they never want to leave!
By: Aaron Steed, CEO of Meathead Movers
Aaron Steed is president, co-founder and CEO of Meathead Movers. He founded Meathead Movers at 17-years-old in 1997 with his brother, Evan. As CEO, Steed oversees all areas of the company – providing clarity, strategy and accountability for everyone on the Meathead team. He has established an open-door style of management, similar to that of a coach, and is well-known for being happily available to assist employees at their jobs or in their personal lives.
In 2015, Steed and the team at Meathead Movers launched the #MoveToEndDV campaign to encourage businesses all over the world to donate free products and services to victims of domestic violence – just like Meathead Movers provides free moving services to victims fleeing an abusive situation.

 

Aaron Steed, CEO of Meathead Movers
Aaron Steed is president, co-founder and CEO of Meathead Movers. He founded Meathead Movers at 17-years-old in 1997 with his brother, Evan. As CEO, Steed oversees all areas of the company – providing clarity, strategy and accountability for everyone on the Meathead team. He has established an open-door style of management, similar to that of a coach, and is well-known for being happily available to assist employees at their jobs or in their personal lives.
In 2015, Steed and the team at Meathead Movers launched the #MoveToEndDV campaign to encourage businesses all over the world to donate free products and services to victims of domestic violence – just like Meathead Movers provides free moving services to victims fleeing an abusive situation.

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  • Employees
  • Growth
  • Management
  • Quit
  • Turnover
14

If Tech Support is an Expense, you are Doing it Wrong

Tech support is generally synonymous with a bad experience in today’s standard of software support. We usually consider ourselves lucky if we can understand the accent of whomever is asking us to turn our computer off and on again, and it has come to the point where support that meets basic expectations is exulted as going above and beyond. What is most incredulous about this industry wide support negligence, is that it actually ends up costing software companies more finically in addition to the bad reputation incurred.
Support is expensive. A fully staffed in-house support department with 24/7 phone and live chat service can easily cost as much as a software company’s sales staff or development team. Because of this daunting upfront cost, many companies opt to outsource their support staff or to offer merely a support email address that might as well be a black hole. These options are basically guaranteed to leave customers frustrated, and they take away the lines of communication that a customer could use to express their frustration. This leaves companies deaf to the problems in their software and ensures that their clients will be trapped in a cycle of complaints that will only end when they take their business elsewhere. Bad tech support is the more common problem, but companies can also be over-friendly and waste unnecessary resources to support. If your support staff spends hundreds of hours talking clients through a workaround that could be resolved with a simple bug fix, this is just as financially wasteful as losing clients.

Having pitfalls on both sides can make the prospect of an efficient support department daunting, but most can be avoided by simply listening. Rather than treating support like an annoyance and a cost, support should be embraced as an opportunity. Support is the easiest form of customer feedback to receive; people are literally calling you and telling you what they think. Rather than spending on market research, customer surveys, and product immersion, start by listening the feedback that is already flowing in. If you are worried that you are spending too much time and money addressing client feedback, then ask yourself some basic questions:

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By embracing tech support, your company can have a great source of focused feedback and a great reputation. Rather than obsessing over ticket numbers and call duration metrics, success should be measured in what you are learning about your customers. Knowing your market, knowing its needs, and knowing what features are valuable, should bring actionable business insights that more than pay for your customer service department.

transparent-red-no-circle  If you find tech support a chore, then you are not listening and you are not getting your money back.

transparent-red-no-circle  If you are not at all investing in tech support, then you are going to lose touch and lose business.

layer-1 If you can gain insight and ignore the frivolous, you will have a successful department!

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  • Feedback
  • Phones
  • Support
  • Tickets
20

Fear is the Killer

During the early days of AP Logic, I had an employee come to me and ask for a demotion. I had promoted this person from a web development/service & support role where he excelled and placed him into a project management position. Shortly after, I found that he was stressed out, customers were not getting consistent feedback was and I was frustrated by the entire situation.

At this point, this individual had a clear choice: To admit it wasn’t working or to try and push through. He chose the former route. He walked into my office and said something like “Jim, I’m really good at doing things in order, consistently, every time. If you ask me to put up a fence, I can dig post holes consistently, accurately, in order, and I won’t mind doing it over and over. But prioritizing competing needs and responding immediately without complete information isn’t my strength. Can I go back to my old position?”

His honesty impressed me and he earned my trust and respect in a way that few people have done before or since. I didn’t cut his pay and in fact he went on to become our point-person for customer support – someone that was deeply appreciated by all our clients. So here’s the point: Do you think his career suffered or benefited because he was direct and honest? Here’s a hint: we’re still good friends many years later.

Another story: A few years ago, a Sr. Software engineer and I were struggling to figure out the best way to work together. He was frustrated by certain types of work we were doing and felt like he was all alone trying to handle complicated situations. We discussed his personality and the realities of our business and came to the conclusion that while we could change some things, if those changes didn’t work, we would both be up-front with each other about our intentions and form a plan for his exit, together. That way, there would be no hard feelings or surprises. And that’s what we did. A year later, he left the company and went to a position that was better suited to him, and, some time after that, he referred a friend to our company that now holds a critical leadership position. Again, we’re still friends and respect each other greatly.

I tell these stories because trust and fear are two opposite sides of the same coin. If any of us had feared getting screwed and made unilateral moves, we would have guaranteed a worse outcome. I know the counter-arguments: there are boundaries in an employment relationship that are appropriate and not everything should be discussed. There are times when people act in bad faith and an open conversation isn’t possible. But there is also a degree of candor, which, if exercised, shows a refreshingly human element that we all crave – and it will cause most people WANT to be open, honest and look for a win-win.

Take a look at this post that details how a friend handles his employees honestly, here.

Just remember, someone has to go first and take the risk. At AP Logic, sometimes it was me and other times it was a team member with an issue to solve. I’ve never regretted acting without fear.  I’ve certainly regretted doing the opposite.

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  • Communication
  • Employees
  • Fear
  • Management