Optical Women’s Association

OWA Connects Blog

Retaining Your Team — How To Avoid Turnover

Last year, I became a frame rep and a common issue that I hear from offices that I visit is the need to find and keep employees on their team.

I have spoken to several of my fellow colleagues and others that I know in the optical industry, and they have shared the same complaints. Since I have an extensive background managing various optical dispensaries, and I was successful with retaining a happy team, I want to share with others what I have learned.

Take Your Competition Seriously

If you plan on maintaining a satisfied team, learn from others in the industry. You can learn a lot by simply looking at Help Wanted ads, and I would encourage you to visit offices and/or make phone calls to get further details about paid time off (PTO), work schedules, continuing education, and work advancement opportunities.

Think of this as a fact-finding mission to serve your team better!

Know Your Team

In addition to knowing your competition, you need to have one-on-one time with each of your team members regularly. Check in with them and, most importantly, get to know them better. You will learn what motivates each person and this may vary for each individual.

There may be some common factors, but each person may rate those factors differently. Some will be driven by constant challenge, while some will seek continuing education. Others may want bonuses, need praise and/or be critiqued often, and some simply want a generous and easy to use vacation benefit.

You may wonder how you would manage all of these differing needs — honestly, it becomes easy when you know what each person wants rather than guessing or assuming what they need to keep them satisfied. This also creates a culture of ‘we are all in this together’ and it makes working together more rewarding and enjoyable.

Have you ever walked into a store or place of business, and everyone seems miserable? It’s most unpleasant and I find myself leaving without giving my business to them.

Hold the Same Standards

If you desire to keep your team together and happy, you must hold everyone to the same standards. These standards or measures should be achievable by all, regardless of their experience or knowledge. Allow your teams to distribute daily tasks within their team structures and provide guidelines if needed. The worst thing you can do as a leader is micro-manage — this will lead your team to believe that you do not trust them or that you do not believe in their skills. After all, you did hire them, and you do not have time to perform their duties in addition to your own.

Have Fun!

Lastly, find opportunities to have fun together. Have luncheon potlucks to enjoy good food together. Celebrate birthdays. Suggest that everyone bring in a baby picture that will be on display and have a contest to see who can guess the most correct team members. You may want to try an after-work hours activity – bowling, a charity event, paint & sip parties. Be creative!

I hope I’ve given you some new ideas to try or confirmed that what you are doing is on track.

Written by Jill Kielas

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