Gabe Abshire, an Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO) member in Dallas, is a serial entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Utility Concierge, a service that eliminates the unnecessary stress of moving by connecting all utilities and home services in one simple step. Gabe intentionally engineered a dynamic company culture to attract star talent and create a cohesive group of passionate professionals. We asked Gabe about putting his people first to deliver incredible customer experiences and create an entirely new industry. Here's what he shared:
The US unemployment rate continues to plummet: Fifteen states are reporting rates lower than the 3.5 percent national average, and eight states are reporting their lowest unemployment rates of all time. In the midst of an ongoing employee's market, what is your company doing to attract and retain top talent?
For the last 10 years, my team members and I have worked to build a people-focused organization that supports our company's goals. I've picked up many lessons that I believe are universal for business leaders.
Here are five steps for prioritizing people to create a successful company your team members will love.
1. Put people first, not technology
What I'm about to say may fly in the face of what's happening in many companies: Stop worrying about making your technology sexy and start putting your people first.
Many businesses go belly-up because they create powerful technology that makes sense on paper, but then hire people who are totally misaligned with the company's core values. Is it any wonder that a company should fail when its leaders select team members who aren't a cultural fit?
When you find people who represent your mission and values, hire them. You've found the foundation on which to build the rest of your business.
2. Show team members how much you care
You've probably heard that "People don't quit bad jobs, they quit bad bosses." The inverse is also true: People stay at good jobs for good bosses. Your team members have chosen to dedicate part of their lives--and careers--to your company. Make it a point to show them how much you appreciate their hard work.
I hear from our team members that they appreciate the things we do, and that they've never experienced a company treating them the way we do. From shutting the company down for an in-house Thanksgiving dinner to annual company trips, we strive to make each member feel like a part of the family. I don't want to run my company in any other way.
Why would you not treat your team--the face of your company--the way you would want to be treated?
3. Hold people accountable
"Own It" is one of our core values. It used to mean that if you messed up a customer's services, you paid for it (owned it). Over the years, that meaning has evolved.
Today, it means everyone has a specific numeric goal that they must achieve in order to contribute to the company's overall success. Everyone knows their number--and everyone else's number. This keeps everyone aligned and competing every day, with both themselves and their team members.
4. Exemplify the culture you want to create
I can't overemphasize how important this one is. Investment in culture doesn't always directly correlate to profit and loss. It's hard to measure, and it's the reason many companies don't invest in their people. Each time you invest in benefits, events, incentives and technology, you create a stronger company culture. Make sure your company culture also aligns with your core values and watch it flourish.
Be true to the culture you create. I want happy people because that happiness comes through to our clients. When building my company, I wanted to create a place where people would grow personally and professionally. To accomplish your business goals, you must have a culture that supports and encourages them. In addition to all the hashtag-able events, do what makes you happy. Live your culture, and it will inspire your team members to do the same.
5. Celebrate your people
Celebrating team members is one of my favorite things to do. We recognize and celebrate wins every quarter with a kickoff party. While living our core value of transparent communication, we review the previous quarter and what we've accomplished together. Then we look to the next quarter and examine where we're going. We recognize team members with core value awards. Gratitude happens when you look back, not when you're only looking forward. So, we aim to show appreciation to our team as often as possible.
I also prioritize celebrating individuals. I want to validate their minds and experiences. We arrange for special events that they may not pursue on their own. We help them check off bucket list experiences while also pushing them to expand that list.
We make our rewards count, too. We arrange for employees to attend sporting events and concerts with amazing seats, special parking passes, meet-and-greets, and fantastic special dinners. Whether it's skydiving or elaborate vacations, we intentionally provide experiences that our team members might not otherwise get to enjoy.
By adopting these methods in your business, you'll create a phenomenal, people-focused company that will both retain current talent and attract new members who will contribute to your growth and success.