Like many, my first jobs were in the restaurant industry. Over time, I went from fast food worker to hostess, then to server and bartender. I rarely held a job longer than one year until I was 23 years old.
This being my background — at my core — I know why employee development is not a top priority for owners or managers in high-turnover, entry-level jobs.
In 2012, when I launched my bakery I was determined to have a food business that centered around people’s growth. I knew my employees wouldn’t be with me forever, but while they were, I wanted them to feel valued and heard, to have a sense of purpose. My bakery was just one step in their life-long adventure. I sincerely wanted my employees to grow up and out of my business and into higher-paying jobs.
My rationale was that if I created an ecosystem that values people, they would help my business both in the short and long term. Let me provide a few examples of how:
- valued employees give better customer service thus they affect your conversion rate and number of transactions
- positive morale increases productivity
- turnover negatively affects your profitability
- post-employment you have a loyal customer
- post-employment you have a trusted referral source
At the base of growing this people-forward work environment was CliftonStrengths (previously StrengthsFinder). A friend of mine introduced me to CliftonStrengths and since then, I’ve spent more time working on what I love and more time hiring people to work in areas I don’t love.
I grew my team from one employee to 15 and the fundamental reason why I implemented this in my business was to have a common language for us all. Here’s a sample of what I gained from implementing CliftonStrengths in a bakery setting:
- A common language to talk about strengths/blind spots (weaknesses).
- A deep understanding of my own talents and how to leverage the talents of my team to minimize my blind spots.
- A focus on coaching the employee on how their talents fit into their job and how to leverage the talents of the team to support their blind spots.
- Knowing how to thoughtfully reward an individual for their work.
- Developing a growth-focused relationship with employees.
- Lower turnover rate even in a high-turnover industry.
And believe it or not, there’s much more!
From there, we can create a process around employee onboarding and check-ins that support employee development professionally and personally. All these systems save you money, increase your business’s capacity for growth, and will set-up your company as the desired place to work in your industry.
This all starts with you. Let’s dig in!