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How to Retain Your Team AKA “Biz Family” – For SMB and Service Companies

The quick answer?

Investing a bigger portion of your profits to have a more healthy company – healthy refers to happy employees. 

5 Key Elements 



A pretty obvious one but still a big concern for many business owners. Numbers have to match and profits have to enable the company to grow.

But what happen if the money is not enough for your people or the salary is very low in comparison to your competitors? Everyone needs to feel comfortable with their incomes and have a clear vision of where they can be in the future in terms of incomes.

If you don’t take this matter seriously, giving the time and research that it deserves, sooner or later you will lose employees and that comes with consequences: cost + a ‘sick’ company.

Once the employee is stable in a company, and has received proper training, they are fully aware of the daily tasks and responsibilities, executing efficiently what has to be done. This one becomes a very important asset for the organization and if you lose that human resource, covering that ‘hole’ will take time and money, and it can generate collateral damages – losses within the journey of finding the right person to cover that hole. Losing employees happens ten times faster than finding a replacement for them.

My policy is: ‘we all have to earn what we deserve and what we deserve is proportional to the value of my work that the company perceives’.

Many companies put a ‘ceiling’ to the incomes of the employee when the limit should be what the employee creates by limiting the value that he is giving to the company. Especially for a ‘service’ company where the links of the chain are the human resources.

So why should A earn more than B?

It should be: A earns more than B because of the value that he is providing to the company.

How do you measure value? That’s the job of the business owner or management to define for each position what is value, setting parameters and goals from the start to achieve what we will call ‘high value’.

If this policy becomes part of the culture of the company, everyone will grow and share the same vision…some faster than others but the gap won’t be so big, and with this balance, you will gain quality, stability and retention that will be reflected in an increase of the company revenue and the team and client satisfaction.

Let’s have a look at question below. Sometimes this question needs to be read in order to be conscious and have the intuitive answer ready to go off the top of your head; answer this and it will help you to have a more healthy company and life:

Would you perform better if you earn more?

Of course, but you need to earn it.

Everyone knows “work with the best people to get the best results”, which is true, but I will also add to this statement “take care of your people, always”. Sit down with each of them and take the time to ask and listen.

Suggestions for management:

  • For each position, define metrics that represents ‘high value’
  • For each position, develop a plan to grow in terms of remuneration with milestones and goals – if you don’t have a plan, the employee won’t have a vision, therefore he won’t know where to “go”, he will simply do what he is ask to do every day and once he finds a better opportunity (meaning better salary, perhaps doing the same job, but with a career plan) there’s a great chance that you will lose them.

However, money is not enough.


Do what you like to do

Make it so it won’t be a “job”. You will do what you love to do (waking up in the morning will be much easier and pleasant).

Employees that do what they love don’t see their work as a “job. They embrace their work as part of their life and therefore they take it very personal, to the point of considering themselves a big part of the company – including throughout success and failure.

These are the employees that you need to have next to you, the ones that feel a win or a loss the same way the business owner does.

If you decide to hire someone that doesn’t like what he does, you won’t get the best results and, as an employee, you may be wasting your time. It is better to continue the search of finding what you love to do – however long it takes, and you have to go through many stages to discover what you love most, but don’t be afraid of getting out of the ‘comfort zone’ – in the end, the reward will be huge and will last forever.

Have you ever performed your very best in doing something that you don’t like? Unlikely.

In life or in an office, do what you love and you’ll have more chances of becoming the best in what you do.

Suggestions for management:

  • Take the required time to hire the right person as the cost of hiring the wrong person because they’re needed ASAP will be much higher than missing someone that will love his work.
  • Someone that doesn’t love what he has to do every day won’t last. He will be a temporary ‘patch’ that can even possibly create more damage for your business, rather than benefits.
  • Recruit in advance, create a list of potential qualified candidates for each position and even if they are working in other companies, it will be better to try to bring them on board than to hire fresh unknown candidates. It may cost more at the start, but in the long term, it will pay back and more.


Motivation, motivation and motivation — this can be boosted in two seconds with a simple recognition. A well-deserved recognition can mean a lot for a team member.

Recognition can also come with a reward – I personally prefer to replace ‘incentive’ with a reward earned from a recognition.

Recognition produces a feeling that you can’t generate with money, as being humans and part of a team, a recognition means a lot. It doesn’t have to be to be big, but it sure has to be mentioned around the team, as that ‘awareness’ of the ‘success’ will trigger a unique sensation on the employee that can last forever – you can’t buy memories with money, either.

Suggestions for management:

  • Recognitions have more value when they come from the top positions
  • Recognitions have more value when it comes from your mentor or team leader
  • Recognitions only have a big value when you share it with the whole team
  • Recognitions give a unique type of energy that makes you want to continue giving the best and exceed your best own results.


This means giving the authority to your employees to decide and execute any task with the right degree of flexibility.

Avoid micromanagement – how? If the points above are covered you won’t need to micromanage your team.


Suggestions for the management:

  • Focus on the high value tasks and delegate the low value tasks
  • If you are sure that you have the best people working with you, let them do their job and celebrate the good results and accept mistakes. Accept doesn’t mean don’t intervene, how you handle those situations will define the outcome of the problem and your relationship with your team.
  • Be a leader, not a boss.
    • Leaders listen and speak, bosses tend to give orders.
    • Leaders motivate rather than terrify
    • Leaders teach and learn rather than expect and ignore
    • Leaders establish equal relationships.

Team integration

Be a team, not a group. Big difference.

  • A team act as a unit while a group act as individuals.
  • A team has goals, a group has individual tasks.
  • A team work together to get the best outcome from every task.
  • A team will grow and succeed faster than a group.
  • A team will have fun, a group will obey orders.
  • A team member collaborate with each other as they share the same goals, working with the same ‘language’ and ‘tools’.
  • All teams have a unique positive synergy that you can’t find in a group.

The integration of the team is key for the work environment and the growth of the company.

Imagine if your salary is big, you love what you do and nobody bothers you…will you be happy if you are doing this by yourself? Perhaps.  But the feeling of integration is in the nature of the human being, meaning that we were not created to be alone. To have a better understanding of this human behaviour, I invite you to Google ‘sense of belonging’. Even the biggest business people in history were not alone; Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Amancio Ortega, Carlos Slim and many more…they all formed, and were part of, a team of brilliant minds that participate in the success of their businesses.


By Jean Pierre Jesses

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