I always talk about the importance of employee retention. Retention starts by treating your employees with respect and dignity. Here is an example of one of those businesses.
I started working for D&S Hydraulics, a family owned company, almost 35-years ago. The company was making little money and raises were scarce to say the least. The owner did small things that kept me hanging around as a young man. My children were small, and I can say I never missed one game, play or event as the owner believed family first. He also traded firewood for repairs, so all employees had as much wood to burn as they needed (this continues today).
During Christmas, he gave everyone a turkey and small bonus’ when he could. There was also inexpensive Christmas candy always in the shop (a big deal for a kid in the 80’s) and donuts on occasion.
I got a speeding ticket at one point while running parts and he paid me cash after a short lecture to pay for it. My brother became hospitalized with stage 4 cancer and eventually passed away. I was gone for almost a month and on my return was told that he paid my salary while I was away. He did small things that were very important to a young struggling family.
Just a few instances in the early days. The business has since been sold to the owner’s son. He converted two rooms into work out areas complete with weights, machines, treadmill, bike etc.…and for us older folks a recliner with a nice flat screen and sound bar. Employees have contributed movies over the years so it’s like an almost defunct Blockbuster. Great break rooms along with the standard fully equipped kitchen.
Many promotions have been made from within. I started with absolutely no hydraulic experience as a shipping/receiving clerk. The current shop manager started as beginner mechanic youngster with very little/no experience. My wife is our book keeper and got stage-3 cancer a couple years ago (she also started with very little experience). He installed an electric chair for her as offices are upstairs and never dictated when or how many hours she worked…it was just there for when she could come in.
Dental and health insurance is fully paid by the company as well as recently added quarterly profit sharing and 401K plan matching 3% which has been offered since the beginning. Vacation time is generous for all.
The owner generally cooks everyone breakfast on Fridays, occasional lunches, donuts and always cookies and candy on our front counter for customers as well as employees. Again, these are but a few examples of things the owner does for his employees. Make no mistake, everyone works long and hard when needed. To me it’s easy to see why many of us have been here over 10, 15 and 20 years.
Identifying key employees, leadership, vision in general and treating employees as family are not only the keys to success but also why my wife and I are blessed to be part of this company.