Whitlam COO Alex Elezaj moderated and participated in a panel at this year’s Tag and Label Manufacturing Institute (TLMI) Technical Conference.  The panel focused on creating great businesses and finding and retaining talented employees.  In this blog post, we’ll give a recap of the most important issues the panel touched upon.

Golden Rules for Running Great Companies

Elezaj began the panel with three rules he’s developed for companies based upon the findings from a Harvard Business School study:

  • Quality is more important than pricing.  Companies should offer a distinct brand, style, service, and environment.  Many times these non cost-related factors are more important to the consumer than savings.
  • Revenue is more important than cost.  The greatest companies have figured out that what you invest intelligently, you get back multiplied down the line.
  • Only follow rules 1 and 2.  It’s easy to focus on costs and the short-term benefits of cutting them, but it’s often to the detriment of your company in the long-term.   Don’t let yourself get sidetracked. 

The Secrets to Finding and Retaining Talented Employees

The second topic discussed by the panel was finding and retaining good employees.  Today, it’s the norm for employees to skip from company to company, averaging 4-5 years at each position.  Gone are the days when employees invested in a company for life.  It doesn’t have to be this way, but if you want your employees to make a firm commitment to your company, your company needs to make employee satisfaction and retention a top priority.
Retaining employees isn’t just about keeping up with the benefits and salary offerings of your competitors.  Companies that want to keep great employees need to make an effort to better understand and attract the employees that will excel at their particular company:

  • Define the skill sets, traits, and attitudes that do best at your company and hire accordingly.
  • Conduct an extensive interview process with behavior-based questions.
  • Sometimes it’s better to hire a hardworking candidate over a superstar who’s not looking to settle down.
  • Develop an onboarding process that introduces new hires to every facet of the company and helps them see the “bigger picture”

After the Hire, Your Job is Just Beginning

Once a company hires an employee, your efforts to retain them are just beginning.  Companies should regularly assess whether their environment and culture are accurately reflections of the ideals that they present to the public.  Companies should value their employees and make the workplace a place that they love to work.  “If you have to give someone a raise five times in one year, give him or her a raise five times in one year,” said Elezaj.  “Why let them wait a year?  Don’t get caught in the cycle of having talented people that you want to keep, but only addressing that on an annual basis.”
Here’s a link to an article about the panel that appeared on Label & Narrow Web.