6 Ways to Ensure Your Employees Never Leave

A long time ago (back when my dad and I were the only “employees” of our family printshop), it wasn’t hard to figure out that if we wanted to make the money, we had to do the work.

However, as any successful business grows, there is only so much you can do with your own two hands and feet, and soon, it became necessary to begin to add team members.

As I started “recruiting” talent, I realized that I didn’t have much to offer in the way of benefits compared to the bigger, more established companies. I found myself hiring the folks that couldn’t keep a job because of whatever personal baggage that kept them from performing well at any company. Because I only had a paycheck to offer them, we became a revolving door for that type of talent.

But then, I remembered an entrepreneurship class I took in high school that taught that benefits that matter most aren’t always limited to the usual health insurance, 401k, or other programs.

I did some deep thinking about what would make me perform better if I were in their shoes and began offering some different benefits than my competition. Here are some of the things that I provided to attract (and keep) top talent.

6 Ways to Attract (and Keep) Your Top Talent

1. Start the Day with a Quiet Hour

We start at 7:00 A.M. every day, but we aren’t allowed to talk to each other until 8:00 AM. Our phones are turned off until 8:00 A.M. as well, so that hour is entirely free of any interruptions. You would not believe how much we get done during that hour!

2. Close the Shop for Lunch Hour

We close the shop for an hour for lunch every day. Sometimes, we’ll all go to lunch together, which helped reinforce a team-focused environment and was something we couldn’t do before we started closing the shop.

3. Offer a 40-Hour Promise

When I interview folks, I let them know that they can count on working 40 hours every week, even if we don’t have 40 hours worth of work to do. On the flip side, I also let them know that we won’t work more than 40 hours ever.

4. Start the Weekend Early

We close the shop to the public on Fridays. We work four, nine-hour days, and four hours on Friday. That means that at 11:00 A.M, our weekend starts. I learned that by being closed on Fridays, the crazy people that expect me to work on the weekend for their project that they forgot to order in time for their event on Monday go somewhere else, making my life much less hectic as a result.

5. Implement Profit Sharing

I came up with a profit-sharing formula that took our breakeven sales amount into play. Here’s how it works:

I share our revenue dollars with my whole team. They know what our break-even point is, and they know that the further we go beyond it each month, the better it is for them. I take a portion of our profit and distribute it among my team. The amount that they receive is calculated based on tenure and attitude.

CAUTION: When implementing a profit-sharing program, it is imperative that you explain that you are sharing your money because you have decided to, and you can decide not to share it at any time. This should be repeated every time profit-sharing checks are distributed.

6.  Give a $100 Handshake

From time to time, a team member goes above and beyond. I try to take notice when this happens and reward them with a $100 bill and a big “Thank You.” I probably do this 8-10 times a year.

The Results Are In!

We’ve had to train our customers to accept some of these things, but now we communicate our hours clearly at the very beginning of any new client relationship, so no one gets surprised when we are closed.

I have also been told that several of these items won’t work. But, most of them have been in place for at least 15 years. The result of these ideas has attracted talent to our shop that I would never have been able to hire otherwise. Our 2019 revenue was 50% higher than our 2007 revenue with half the people!

I believe that when we treat people like people, instead of tools, they will perform better and be more concerned with results rather than hours logged.


Written by

Derek Brooks

Owner, Brandywine Printing

Derek owns and operates Brandywine Printing Inc., a family-owned business founded in the early 80s. Brandywine Printing helps businesses succeed by providing printed materials that improve their image and make them more efficient. Derek and his wife Kathy have been married for 23 years and have one daughter, Shiloh, who is pursuing a degree in music education. They are enjoying the empty nest life!