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Would You Let Your Friends Work Here?

Building the right teamA lack of skills, focus or (heaven forbid), talent, can doom the best marketing strategy before it ever gets off the ground. But, more often than not, the problem isn’t with the team. It’s with management. According to US News and World Report, “Even in this economy, between 1.5 million and 2 million people quit their jobs each month.” And the top reasons people quit their jobs relate to management and culture.

Does your company measure up? The simplest question you can ask your team—ensuring their anonymity, of course—is whether they’d let their friends work for you. If your customers said they wouldn’t recommend your business to their friends, you’d sit up and take notice, right? Why not do the same with your employees?

Finding the right people and then keeping those people happy, focused and secure separates the companies winning the race from the ones that fall by the wayside.

If your team lacks skills, it’s your responsibility to get them the training needed to succeed. If your team lacks focus, it’s your job to inspire them. And if they lack the desire to gain the skills and focus, well… dude, you hired ’em. Something must have attracted you to them in the first place. Find that and draw it out again[*]. I once knew a manager who complained about every person on his team, even those he’d professed to love when they first joined his team. After hearing this story repeatedly, I figured he either a.) didn’t know how to hire or b.) didn’t know how to manage.

It’s easy to assume that employees will work for you, no matter what. It’s also BS. Yes, the economy—especially on the employment front—sucks. But people want to feel valued and to work on things that matter. I’d mentioned that you’ve got to have your team in order when looking at the 5 steps for online marketing success in 2012 over on the Biznology blog a few days ago. If your employees wouldn’t want their friends to work for you, it’s not the team that’s out of order. It’s you.

Footnote: Of course, you may be better off finding folks who actually are engaged and passionate to learn/work. But, unless you’re like a former Governor, you probably don’t like firing people. The decision whether to retain or part ways with an employee is one of the hardest any manager ever faces. My advice—unless you’ve long since determined the person isn’t going to work out—is “teach, teach, term.” Make sure you’re providing the employee the opportunity to improve. Again, you hired the individual. Try and rekindle whatever it was that sold you on the person first before deciding to move in a new direction.

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Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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