If you choose not to SOW, your team may choose to go

Monday, October 31, 2005

Q. The competition for qualified staff is stiff. With some companies dangling signing bonuses and other perks in front of potential employees, how do I create a work environment that my staff won't want to leave?

A. In the HME News Poll for July 2005 we were asked "...what is the number one reason why employees transitioned to or from your company?" Forty-eight percent said better work environment while 31% said more money. To create a work environment that all team members want to be a part of, you need to SOW in order to reap. That's right SOW: survey, observe and work.
First, survey your team members and ask them what they would like to see in your work place. Ask about their workstations, the office space, vehicles and warehouse. You may need to paint, buy some new desks and chairs, and have the vans detailed every six months. Get as deep as you want with this survey, just keep it anonymous and be prepared to make some changes.
Second, observe the interaction of your team members. The work environment is not just about the space, it has a great deal to do with the people. Do your team members get along, is there conflict and is there too much fun and not enough work? Observe your team working together. Be prepared to offer solutions to your team's needs.
Last, you need to work in their space for just one day. We can only appreciate what our team members really experience if we walk or work a mile in their shoes. You will surely gain a new realization of what your team members do for you and your customers.
You only reap if you SOW; if you choose not to SOW, your team may choose to go.


Ty Bello is vice president of homecare business development for Gulf South Medical Supply. Reach him at tbello@gsms.com or (800) 532-4035 ext. 1640.