Consider Your Staff

Staffing success is directly related to your approach to remote work and retention.
Three connected circles

© MirageC / Moment / Getty Images

There is no one-size-fits-all approach on how best to function with association staff. What I can do, however, is share 50 years of experience successfully working with people in an entrepreneurial environment.

The Business of Staffing

How you go about hiring people impacts everything. If, when adding to the management team, you do not consider the seat they will occupy, the odds are only 25% that you have made a good hire.

So, before adding to your existing management team, you need to evaluate those who are part of it. These three fundamental questions should always be top of mind:

  1. How do staffers feel about your organization’s core value? This guiding principle should be able to be stated in a half-dozen words, such as “Delivering the best member experience.”
  2. Is organizational growth and ongoing relevance something in which they want to participate?
  3. Do they have with the tools and skills required to do the job?

When you grow or find yourself needing to replace a member of your management team, another important key is to involve all those impacted by the new hire. This does not necessarily give them final say-so about a hiring decision, but when done properly, it makes acclimation easier.

Remote Work Realities

The success of remote work will depend on a variety of factors:

  • If you have issues with remote work, consider whether you are imposing these issues on others looking to work remotely—and how that may be impacting their job satisfaction and success.
  • You may find yourself dependent on someone else being in the office even though their working from home could be just as convenient, if not more so. This is an issue with which I struggle, so don’t feel alone if you do as well.
  • The technology already exists to make remote collaboration as effective as in-person collaboration.
  • The cost of this technology is reasonably inexpensive and not difficult for anyone to learn to use, despite any lack of technological expertise. At our association, we have installed a phone system that conveniently and instantly connects us regardless of where we are. We use it all the time, even when we are all in the office.
  • Also consider that if you appreciate your staff, you need to adapt. If you are unwilling to adapt, you may be signaling that you do not appreciate them.

It Comes Down to Retention

Consider this: Recall the last time you left a job. When you told your boss that you were leaving, pay may be the reason you gave. Yet underappreciation, lack of consideration,inability to be heard, etc., were running through your head. People will often work where they feel valued even if they could get paid more somewhere else.

When you add the right people to your team, employee value becomes the foundation of retention because it requires you to seriously consider the value an employee brings to your team culture. It also requires you not to take advantage of their desire to be associated with your organization.

Salary should be the primary evidence for appreciation, but compensation is just one of several potential benefits. At my association, for example, management team members:

  • Are offered an annual allowance to attend industry-related meetings.
  • Take classes that further their understanding of their role within the organization or better help them understand the world within which our members operate.
  • Have flexible work hours that take personal needs into consideration.
  • Participate in leadership workshops for volunteers.
  • Visit member offices and are the face of the association.
  • Get an above-average number of paid holidays annually (the day after Thanksgiving, four additional paid days off at the end of the year, etc.).

Also note that staffing, remote work and retention interact. This makes it likely that if you have little difficulty with retention, staffing and remote work are non-issues. Unfortunately, if you have difficulty with retention, then staffing and remote work policies may be the culprits. It is also likely that if retention and remote work are non-issues, you likely have the right people in the right seats.

Written by: Bob Taylor, RCE, is CEO of the Grosse Pointe Board of REALTORS® in Michigan.



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