The first step to creating a strong team is hiring great and qualified employees for the right position. The next and most important step after that is to keep the employees as a turnover can cost a company both time and productivity. Power Digital has a retention rate of 97% and it is actually a part of our company-wide goal to retain over 90% of our employees.
How do we have such a high retention rate? Sure, some might say the company perks are obvious contributory factors to our employees being happy here, who doesn’t like having daily catered lunches, a fully stocked kitchen, and unlimited PTO? The biggest motivation, however, is our leadership team and the fact that we have great managers here at PDM.
What exactly is so great about them? Not only does our leadership team treat the team members well, they genuinely care about everyone’s well being in the office and outside of the office. I sat down with our founders and department heads to get 5 tips on how they each effectively manage their team and keep everyone happy to sustain the low turnover rate. Here’s what they have to share:
Grayson Lafrenz, Founder – CEO
- Don’t play the blame game – sometimes things go wrong and it doesn’t need to be somebody’s fault. There could be multiple reasons why it happened, instead of focusing on whose fault it was, focus on the solution to prevent it from happening again.
- Never ask people to do things that you wouldn’t do yourself – sometimes you need to get in the weeds with your team and show that you’re willing to be in the trenches with them. Gain their respect through your work ethic and lead by example to show how much you care and how hard you’re willing to work for it. We also have profit sharing so we all win together and lose together.
- Be super transparent with your team members – if you think there’s a conflict, sit down with them one on one. A lot of times people will make assumptions when they are on different pages when you can easily be realigned just by talking through it. Try to relate to them and built a personal bond with your team members.
- Give a lot of autonomy – we give our team a lot of freedom to handle business in the way they think is best which in return makes the job more satisfying and rewarding for them. Don’t box people in and let them be innovative with their roles. We are very flexible and flat as an organization and there’s no layers in our management. We’ll help people create a new role in their careers to help them advance.
- Schedule 1 on 1’s – we pair up mentors and mentees for 1 on 1’s to give them a chance to sit down and chat informally while having transparent conversations. It helps to build that relationship and gives the managers an idea on how we can get better as a company and make their work experience better.
Rob Rodrigues, Founder – COO
- Team first mentality – nothing is below or above any job or position.
- Player coachleadership style – be willing to get out there and get your hands dirty at any given time.
- Leadership is more about doing than talking – make sure you practice what you preach and lead by example. Authority and leadership is earned and not dictated. When the times get tough, your team will be much more willing to listen and take direction when they know that their leader is willing to do whatever it takes to mitigate the situation.
- Collaborate with the team – come up with the best solution together and construct the best plan.
- Make time for 1 on 1’s – meet with team members to get a pulse on things and feedback. Everyone perceives and experiences situations differently through their own perspective, it’s important to understand people’s motives to better improve any situation. No insight or feedback is unwanted.
Antonio Johnson, Head Of SEO
- Being able to roll with the punches – present yourself in an appropriate manner in any situation you come across.
- Grit – have the power of passion and perseverance.
- Say what you mean and mean what you say – there’s times when issues are going to come up and everyone deals with things differently, address the situation head on and figure out what the solution is rather than speculating and presuming. An awkward conversation is worth having in order to clear the air.
- Big proponent of transparency – having 1 on 1’s is important to understand what success looks like, it gives people an opportunity to express disappointment or areas for improvement. The 15five is also another good tool to utilize to gather insights, people are able to be more candid with their input. It gives the managers an opportunity to address any issues head on.
- Have courage – to stand up to your team and stand up for your team, and sometimes stand up to clients when situations occur where you need to get involved as a manager in some way or another.
Britney Schroeder, Director Of Content Marketing
- Being really self-aware – consider the perspective of the team members you are managing. Some people want to be managed while others don’t, be there when they need you but don’t over-manage or micro-manage.
- Leading by example – following through and be held accountable for your words is extremely important.
- Don’t be afraid to give feedback – especially with younger people that are newer to the workforce feedback needs to be delivered in a mindful way. Try to be more understanding and put yourself in their shoes.
- Being really organized – this is really important when you’re managing a team, you want to have a good pulse on everyone’s accounts.
- Have bi-weekly check ins – in additional to the 1 on 1’s so you can get ahead of situations and have really open communication. When little issues do arise, it’s important to focus on the overall goal of the conversation and not be distracted by the emotional side of things.
Austin Randall, Director Of Paid Media
- Be accessible to your team – it’s really important to have the ability to balance your own work and still be available when your team needs you. Plan out your days and make sure you give yourself a little bit of cushion, you’ll most likely get taken off tasks by your team at some point in the day so it’s important to put their needs/work before your own. You should also know what your team does as much as you know your own work so you can be valuable and useful when they need help.
- Make sure you don’t baby your team so much –challenge your team to figure out things on their own. Finding the balance between coaching and assisting with work is really important.
- Always lead by example – be the hardest worker, be in the weeds with your team and take equal work load as your team. When you need to come in as an authority figure, it’s only going to work if your team can recognize the hours of work and amount of effort you’re putting in yourself.
- It’s always important to be appropriate in the workplace – you can be a cool manager but still be respected. You can be human and relatable while providing the positive influence.
- Have 1 on 1’s – these meetings help us gather insights beyond the team member’s workflow and understand what’s going on with their life at work and outside of work. An opportunity to discuss the progress they’ve made regarding where they want to go professionally in the company. A lot of companies do quarterly, bi-yearly, or even yearly reviews, but if you think about it, a team member’s wellbeing needs more frequent temperature checks than once or twice a year.
Mike Opera, Director Of Social Media
- Don’t put your team in positions that they don’t want to be in – truly understand where they want to be and where they want to end up at. It’s good to have the big picture and set goals on where you want to go and dream big, but at the same time be realistic in the day in and day out. Keep your head in the clouds but make sure you are executing on the work daily to get you there.
- Understand what motivates your team members –certain things motivate some people while others not so much. It’s important to figure out what each team member’s motivators are and work on lining that up for them.
- Be a real person – understand your team members and their thought process, put yourself in their shoes.
- Lead by example – if you don’t lead by example, you won’t get respect from your team. It’s a lot easier to ask your team members to do something when you’ve done it yourself.
- Utilize the 1 on 1’s – if you do a good job with the 1 on 1’s, your team members should be able to tell you anything that’s on their mind. Some of the best solutions and processes for our team came from productive 1 on 1’s. Find out what the reason behind the hurdles are and ask the 3 why’s.
Kate Lobel, Director Of Public Relations
- Pay attention to the details – be a really good listener and learn by taking notice the tone of voice and body language which is 70% of communication.
- Have your team aligned – even though our clients are of the up most importance, you need to have your team on board and be on the same page. Otherwise, you won’t have a client.
- Take the time to ask good questions – go to your 1 on 1’s prepared, set career and personal goals for your team members to support them outside of their workflow and in their overall career goal. A good manager understands their team member’s long-term goals and helps mold them into that type of professional. The 1 on 1’s are also critical to give your team members the opportunity and the time to voice everything and anything. Giving them that undivided attention benefits everyone in the end.
- Setting expectations – make things clear that you want to help build them up as a better person. Be assertive but also respectful, put yourself in their shoes to get a better idea of how they perceive feedback. Don’t be afraid to be constructive because they need to be aware, and your overall responsibility as a manager is the welfare of them as a person.
- Build a relationship with your team members – be a friend and a mentor as opposed to a manager to form that bond. It goes a long way to show that I’m willing to give my time and my undivided attention to help them.
Every manager has their own management style, but it’s apparent that all the managers on our leadership team have one thing in common – they truly care. Whether it’s making sure the team member’s opinions are being heard or helping them achieve their career goals. The 1 on 1’s are a big part of how we operate here at Power Digital, it provides an opportunity for candid conversations and allows for transparency to unveil any underlying issues.
Often times, employee satisfaction go beyond the financial rewards and being happy at a job actually depends more on the intangibles. Lucky for us here, we have a great leadership team striving on a daily basis to make Power Digital a better company and work environment for its employees!