MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. – While many business owners will say that the first rule of a successful company is keeping customers happy, studies show that also keeping employees happy is critical to the whole process.
The better a business owner and upper management treat good employees, the more committed and engaged they will be to perform at a consistently high level and do their part to help make the business successful.
“The big key to business success is the productivity level of your employees and the culture in which they operate,” Paul Trapp, founding owner and CEO of EventPrep Inc., a full-service meeting planning and management company, and co-author with Stephen Davis of “Prep for Success: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Achieving Your Dreams.,” said. “Employee happiness results directly in success and goes hand-in-hand with company culture. The primary focus of leadership in that culture should be making sure their employees are happy, safe, respected and making a competitive wage.”
“It’s simple, really,” Davis, who is EventPrep’s founding owner, president and chief operating officer, said. “The folks you bring on board are going to spend a significant amount of time with their work family, so why wouldn’t the people running the business want it to be a cool place to work, and why wouldn’t they want it to be the most productive place they could possible make it?”
Trapp and Davis said there are key factors to finding the right employees and keeping them happy and productive.
The first is recruiting.
“You’ve got to get the right people first, the people with the qualities that make for a passionate, productive worker who contributes to a positive culture,” Davis said. “Recruiting is about connecting with people and connecting them with their passion, their purpose and enabling them to reach their potential. Recruiting isn’t an event, but a process, and sometimes finding the right person for a particular job can take months or even years. You’re always looking, listening, assessing and asking questions – and really getting to know the person you may hire.”
Next, work to establish a culture.
“You want people to want to come to work and to do that you want people to work in the culture you’re creating,” Trapp said. “Culture is created at the top and cascades downward. What values and ethics do you have as a business owner that can make employees passionately want to be a part of that culture?”
Invest in them.
“Investing in your people raises their performance and strengthens their commitment, but it means far more than giving them raises,” Davis said. “It’s about making them feel like a part of your family, including giving them compassion and understanding when they need it most. Employees in turn embrace that kind of culture and own it. That’s what you want – a self-perpetuating work culture where everyone feels cared for and important.”
Last, take time to recognize them.
“Keeping people happy and encouraging them to want to stay isn’t magic,” Trapp said. “Just as important as recruiting the right talent, business owners and leaders need to make the culture attractive and sustainable in order to retain the right talent. Retaining is about recognizing and celebrating, showing gratitude and appreciation. Recognizing employees for exceptional work, and giving them a cash bonus or special trip, is a key element toward retaining them.”
“A happy employee who’s engaged and connected, who wants to be there every day, makes the workplace a better place and a stronger business,” Davis said.
Paul Trapp is a former senior military leader who served as chief of recruiting for the Army National Guard and holds over 30 years of experience in contract management, event planning and organizing conferences, seminars and meetings.
Stephen Davis is a multi-state operations director who focuses on conference development, implementation, management and conference design. He currently serves as a chief warrant officer and CID special agent in the Army Reserves. Davis deployed twice in support of the global war on terrorism. In 2016, Davis and Paul Trapp launched Federal Conference Inc., which provided professional event planning and management services to the government and commercial marketplaces. Federal Conference Inc., was a two-time Inc. 500 award recipient twice and executes over 3,000 events annually around the world. For more information, visit www.eventprep.com.