How To Turn Learning Into Employee Empowerment

Kelly ScholsBy Kelly Schols - President, CPI Plumbing and Heating, Mount Vernon, WA

My general manager Brad and I recently spent the week at the International Service Roundtable meeting in Las Vegas. It was great to catch up with some old friends and get to know some new ones. The weeks focus was on employee recruiting, hiring and retention. There were a lot of great speakers (and myself), ideas and best practices shared during the week. One of the common themes we kept hearing all week was that there are not any good people to hire and that it’s hard to hold onto the good ones. All I can say is Really?

As owners and managers we can get wrapped up in going to seminars, meetings, conferences or whatever else we think we can do to try and better our company. What I have learned over the years after attending many of these different events is to not get caught up in the topic of the event, but to try and find at least one thing I can bring back to improve the company and/or myself. A lot of what we have learned and implemented in our company wasn’t even the topic of the event, but was the learned in discussions during breaks, dinner or just a good old chat session.

One mistake a lot of owners and manager make after attending events like this is that they feel the need when they return to immediately implement or try something new. Be careful with this idea and make sure that whatever you decide to implement is in line with your vision and the culture of your company. I would not recommend just trying something or implementing something new without thinking it through. You may even want go over it with a couple of team members and get their feedback.

Most team members don’t like change and will not take the changes serious unless done correctly with a plan of action. Brad and I have had the luxury of going to these events together for years. We have implemented many great ideas and have learned over the years to discuss the who, what, and why before even presenting it to the rest of the team. At that point we like to get their feedback and recommendations before implementing it. By getting the rest of the team involved and going over it with them before implementing an idea, it brings ownership to the entire team and lets them know we are not just going to implement something to implement something or because we went to some seminar. Getting them involved also lets them know we care about their opinions.

Want to retain great team members? Then treat your team members as team members, get them involved in the process of implementing new ideas and you will be surprised at how much ownership they will take and how empowering it will be for them.

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