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Business Builders

Employees can help build your business, if they're happy and stick around.

By Kay I. Dempsey, CLU, ChFC

It’s said that the secret to a long marriage is to keep dating your spouse. If you maintain the excitement, it bodes well for a long-lasting relationship.

The same principle applies to employment. Many companies spend time and money to get the right employee to join the team, but then little effort is made to keep the employee excited about being part of the company.

A few weeks after a new hire comes to work, have a frank discussion with each key member of your team. Is the employee motivated? Happy? A valuable contributor? Does he understand and fit the company’s brand? Is this going to work for both the employee and the company?

Do what you gotta do
If there are early warning signs that it is not a good fit, have the courage to sever the employment relationship before the problems multiply. Evaluate why it did not work out and use this experience to hone your hiring process.

Building a staff that builds your business requires positive energy, responsiveness and innovative ideas.

If the employee is a good fit, remember that the key to retention is found in a strategy that considers the employee’s personal aspirations—career development, compensation, recognition—and the aspirations the employee has for the company. Here are some issues to consider:

Compensation. A higher salary can be a strong draw for your employees. Top performers expect to be rewarded for their success.

Challenge. Competent, motivated employees want to be challenged. They seek a sense of empowerment, room to take risks and use their own best judgment, and accountability for their decisions.

Support. Providing the necessary administrative support to do a job well is a given. But other types of support are needed as well. Be a leader in your field—don’t wait for others to break new ground. Stay ahead of the technological curve. Explore new markets and opportunities.

Environment. No one aspires to work for a dull company. Bob Nelson’s book, 1001 Ways to Energize Employees and 1001 Ways to Reward Employees, can be a profitable gift to your key managers. Special luncheons, outings, parties and gifts of books on how the best and brightest get better are among the ways to liven things up.

Recognition. Recognition goes a long way toward building employee goodwill and loyalty. When a job is done well, a great sale closed or a complex problem resolved, acknowledge it right away. If an executive commends an employee to a manager, be sure the employee hears about it.

Training. In today’s dynamic marketplace, job requirements are constantly changing. Be sure your staff has the necessary tools to do the job. If the training produces new ideas—listen and implement them.

Evaluate. If you don’t evaluate employees on a regular basis, they may grow out of a job or get in over their heads. Evaluations need to be done more often than the annual review.

Value your winners
Your company is no stronger than your staff. If talented people believe that you value them, count on them, and want to reward them, they will be committed to your company. Building a staff that builds your business requires positive energy, responsiveness and innovative ideas. Take the time to find the winners and treat them as you expect them to treat your best clients.

Kay I. Dempsey, CLU, ChFC, is president of The Dempsey Companies, which provides insurance solutions for professionals who specialize in estate, business and retirement planning for high-net-worth individuals and profitable businesses. Dempsey is a member of NAIFA-Atlanta. She can be reached at



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