IT’S A GREAT THING doing this column, ’cause every once in a while I get to rant. It doesn’t happen often. After 37 years in this industry, I’ve mellowed a bit, so I appreciate the fact that I have learned a lot of good business ideologies. But I’ve also identified some horrendous practices, as well.
So every once-a-year or so, I get to lose my $#!+… and unfortunately for you, my faithful readers, you get to bear the brunt of it … so here goes:
Some of you may not agree with me, but too bad. You’re wrong. Yep, I said it. For all of you who will agree with me, you display character and integrity in business — and in life in general.
What am I talking about?
This Isn’t Farewell
An hour ago, I had an employee come into my office, close the door and put his two weeks’ notice in. Now, I’m not talking an average, new guy … I’m talking about a six-year veteran who had limited industry experience when we hired him, but over the years has proven to be a steadfast, model, workhorse employee. A superstar, who loves our company and everything we stand for.
I was in absolute shock.Advertisement
Over the years, my partner Rick and I have had many employees come and go. That’s just the nature of business. I stopped counting 15 years ago, but at that time the number stood around 169 different employees through our doors. Several of them even came back, once they found out the grass was not greener…
We pride ourselves on never being that employer who insists their people stay with them forever! It’s not our place to tell people that, for whatever reason, they “can’t leave.” Matter of fact, multiple guys have left and started their own gigs, and 25 years later we still send work to them! Rick and I are all about the future advancement of people and applaud those who strive to better themselves. There have been a rare few who “hurt” us when they left, but that’s because they were personal friends on this journey with us, and they would no longer be here. (Two of these guys were even in my wedding party!)
Recently, Rick and I were talking about how many of our ex-employees are still connected to us, and how every one of them would come back to work for us… Because we never cast them out as heretics, as the idea for their life course lay elsewhere.
Hands Off, Y’All
Back to the guy in my office. Was he moving out of the area? Was he going to change industries completely? Unfortunately, no. He was straight poached from us by another wrap installer — a “friend” of ours, a wholesale wrap installer who travels and slings vinyl for other sign companies. And because their company’s overhead is nil, they offered him more money. A chunk more money. Do we blame our superstar? Hell no. More loot is more loot. But in leaving, he loses the stability of a larger, progressive, decades-old company for, honestly … a gamble.
But this isn’t about him. This is about the poacher.Advertisement
We have never pursued someone from another company. If you cannot find your own people, like we busted our butts finding ours and cultivating their careers, then you cannot steal them from your “competition.”
I know it’s ridiculously difficult to find great employees. But if you poach, you show no integrity, and you are lacking in character. And is that the kind of company you want to run — or work for?
There it is. Other shops’ employees are off-limits. And to all those people out there who don’t agree with me: Do better than that.
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