“Organization doesn’t really accomplish anything. Plans don’t accomplish anything either. Theories of management don’t matter much. Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved.”

General Colin Powell
Former Secretary of State & Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

General Powell said it so well. You can have the best product on the market, dedicated customers, well-oiled processes in place and grand plans for future growth … but without your people, your company is toast.

One of AEG’s advisors, Ines Lebow, has seen this firsthand. During the span of her 35-year career, she has operated 12 companies and exited nine. Every one of these companies had a people problem, and it usually came down to a lack of communication.

“Eighty percent of all working Americans hate their jobs – an astonishing number,” Lebow said. “Sixty-one percent are looking for a new job. Sixty percent don’t know their company’s strategy. Why aren’t revenue goals and company vision being communicated? Why don’t employees feel like they are doing work that matters?”

The biggest challenge CEOs and business owners face

As Lebow told me, the challenge is actually twofold: Retaining top talent and hiring new talent. This should be a top priority for all CEOs and business owners – especially when they’re in a high-growth mode. After all, your people are your company.

“I just read a book by Gallup called ‘It’s the Manager,’” Lebow recounted. “In the book, I read that the quality of managers and team leaders is the single biggest factor in your organization’s long-term success. I know from experience that everyone in your company needs to know how their role contributes to the company’s success – including the receptionist.”

How to keep your people engaged

Keeping your people engaged, productive and happy comes down to communication.

• Make sure all employees know your WHY
• Repeat your WHY often – in meetings, memos, emails, etc.
• Share company goals and objectives monthly, quarterly and yearly
• Review and discuss customer expectations monthly
• Ensure employees are focused on your customers and understand the customer experience
• Keep communication open between customers and the executive team
• Connect processes to the customer experience
• Thank your employees regularly – and let them know how they contributed to your company’s growth