What your employees really love

Jul 17, 2017

It’s hard to find outstanding people to work in your AEC firm. It’s also hard to keep them working for you these days when they have so many other options.

What are some things you can do that they will love and will REALLY keep them there? Here are my thoughts:

  • Participation – real life participation – in the business planning process. Everyone wants to feel like they can have an impact on the direction of the business. The more you show you care about what they think by asking for their input and then following up with action – the more likely they will be raving fans of their employer. No one wants to feel like they are powerless victims of bad management they have no influence over.
  • Open book management reports. Open book means sharing the key financial performance metrics you use to run your business with everyone (not just a small group of managers), all the time (not just when the news is good or bad). Doing this greatly increases trust between employees and managers. Employees like being trusted with this information and it helps educate all of them on how the business makes or loses money.
  • Free food! Simply one of the best benefits there is – and especially valued by younger workers – is free food. Give them breakfast foods, lunch foods, snack foods – whatever they want. Drinks, too. It amazes me that some companies still charge their employees for coffee! The payback should come in higher energy levels and happier workers who aren’t “hangry.” Not to mention it can save the extra-thrifty employees a bit of money by not having to go out for breakfast or lunch.
  • A fun work environment. People want to have fun. Even old people. If everyone has fun at the office and it’s more enjoyable to be there, they’ll be happier and more likely to tell their friends and family how much they like their jobs.
  • Company cars. Always the best benefit you can give. Many companies still give company cars to key people. Everyone loves having one because a car is a major expense they don’t have to incur. Company cars can also provide working visibility for your firm (good marketing), and be a brand-builder (depending on what kind of cars they are).
  • Good medical insurance. Talk about a tether tying employees to your company! Good insurance is not something people want to give up. And it may be more critical than ever given the probability that health insurance will be costlier, harder to get, and provide less benefits in the near future!
  • A growing company. This is what employees really want. They may not be able to articulate why growth is crucial but they all want more opportunities to learn, to make more money, and to do better work. Growth is the way to make that happen. It’s interesting that more HR people don’t acknowledge how crucial growth is to having a company employees love to work for. That’s what I would be selling.

Mark Zweig is Zweig Group’s chairman and founder. Contact him at mzweig@zweiggroup.com.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.