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Employee Loyalty-Responsibility From Two Perspectives

September 15, 20225 min read

Employee Loyalty-Responsibility from two perspectives


First from the employer mindset:


The decision to add a member to your crew is never easy.  There are many factors to consider.


Can I keep them busy?  

What is the cost including the burden?

Is that cost covered in my existing project costs?  

Have I updated my estimating to cover costs?

How will they get along with the rest of the crew?

How will they get along with my customers?

Are they trainable?

Do I have the time to train?

Do I have the proper systems in place to train? (Deep end training is not a system)


Before I get into the hiring need mindset, allow me to remind you that your first priority must be to you and your business.  Your first responsibility to your crew is to take care of you and your business. Without taking care of you and your business no one will have a job.  Your company must be viable and strong.  Limping by is not success it is hanging on.  This type of operation yields stress and more often than not a likely less than stellar response from you when faced with difficulties.  A healthy response under duress yields a team of trust.


Once you have answered all of the above questions and know that you can cover the cost of the time it takes for the new hire to get up to speed.  Your new hire must be able to fit in and fill a void that needs filling.  It is not in your best interest to hire or keep existing staff busy for the sake of keeping someone busy.  The cost is too high, and the responsibility is too deep for not having your employees being productive for your company.  My point is simple, there is no cost benefit or added employee loyalty for dreaming up work.  You are only setting yourself up for disappointment when the inevitable happens, someone you took extra good care of leaves you for a “better opportunity.”  Don’t get me wrong, I am all for someone bettering themselves, just not at the expense of my generosity.


Being an owner requires the adaptability to wear many hats.  You are going to have to:  Market, network, estimate, bill, client management, HR, accounting and banking to name a few.  I am not mentioning this as a reminder to the amount of responsibility you do by the simple thing of owning your own business.  Remember this is the freedom we as business owners and entrepreneurs strive for.  


Over the years I have worked with many talented people from basic laborers to highly skilled tradesmen who have all mastered their tasks and have taught me to be a better craftsman and manager.  I have also had countless meaningful conversations and have heard the reasoning for employee loyalty and lack thereof. 

Let’s shift gears and look at this from a different perspective.


Developing an understanding of the employee mindset takes time, understanding and a respect of their view.  Regardless of the position, I have heard many of the same thoughts/perspectives from employees.  Here are a few of the questions/statements that I have overheard or been directly asked.  


Must be nice to not have to work?

I think you should get me a new company truck too.

Who has all the toys?

I have kids, I deserve more…

I have been with you longer; I deserve a better position/wage/salary.

I make you so much money (my personal favorite)


Navigating the conversation with your employees takes patience and understanding.  People do the best they can with their skills in work and communication.  It is up to us to navigate the conversation and chunk it down to a level that not only resonates, it also addresses the concern that is raised. You must learn to ask better questions.  What would success look like for them?  Have them lay out with as much detail as possible what a fulfilling future looks like.  Is it possible with you and your company?  How can you help? This is not about you; it is their perspective.  Do they not see a future here? Have you laid out a path for them to aspire to?  Do they not like the culture here?  Do you have a culture that will attract top talent?   Do they feel valued, heard and respected? What happens if you promote out of tenure versus skill?  Putting someone in the wrong seat on the bus will also create additional hard feelings, how do you come back from that?


Why would they leave?  This is not a time to think/say “I did XYZ for you?”  That is a “you/I” thinking. Keep this in mind, when you are trading time for money, when the week is over and the paycheck is cut, that contract is now complete, next week is a new one.  They owe you nothing, they already did it!


My recommendation is to invest more time than you are likely accustomed to.  Learn your people and what makes them tick.  Understanding a personality and what motivates them will open the door for more candid conversations.  Set attainable metrics for raises and proficiencies for career advancement.  Don't take it personal when you feel you have bent over backwards, and they leave for $1 somewhere else.  Building a quality and productive team takes time, devotion, emotion and sacrifice. 

Beyond these thoughts, I would like to say that I always felt a deep sense of responsibility when adding a crew member.  I prided myself on being able to read people and their character/culture.  Under no circumstance am I suggesting that I got it right all the time.  There were many mistakes along the way, and I learned from them all.  I trust you will too.

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