Ask Alan – Ideas and advice for entrepreneurs and small business owners



“How can I create employees that care?”

                                             —Gregory, Mooresville




Here’s a clue

It isn’t money. Money helps, but studies have shown that money alone has little bearing on workplace happiness, or if they will stay, or continue to work hard.

So, what can a business owner or manager do to keep good employees happy?



Make sure your employees are led by the best managers

You want employees who are passionate about their work. Get and provide training and coaching. Good leadership rarely comes naturally.

70% of people leave companies; because of bad managers.


Give employees a sense of purpose

There is no ONE thing that makes ALL employees happy. Additionally, there has never been an environment with so many choices and diversity as we have today. Let employees know how their job fits into the business!


recent study by the Harvard Business Review said that “Employees who feel a sense of purpose” are:

  • 3 times more likely to stay in their jobs
  • 1.7 times higher to feel job satisfaction
  • 1.4 times more engaged at work


Time can be as valuable as money

At the end of a project, spontaneously give someone a day off. Provide opportunities and encouragement for learning and growth. Money spent on skill development is invested well. Not only does growth motivate and engage, it’s a big hook for retention. In general, people don’t leave employers who care about their future.



Give them flexibility

I once coached managers at a company that was in financial trouble. They couldn’t afford raises and certainly couldn’t afford to lose top-tier talent. One thing I discovered was that a prior leader wouldn’t let people move their desks around, have personal items on their desks, and was very regimented about when they had to arrive and leave.


After being coached, managers agreed and informed their employees that they could decorate their offices anyway they liked, so long as it wasn’t offensive. And most importantly, they could come in when they wanted, leave when they wanted, and work at home occasionally, so long as they met their obligations.



People want to enjoy coming to work

Workplace culture is often the intangible benefit of choosing one business over another. I once coached a North Carolina business that wanted to make its culture a major part of its identity.


So, managers asked employees to describe the kinds of things that would make coming to work more fun. While there were some ideas that couldn’t be implemented; managers overwhelmingly agreed to give their people time off every other Friday, during the summer.


On the first day of baseball season, the office would close, And, whenever employees reached a milestone work anniversary, it was celebrated in a variety of ways. A most important lesson was to avoid “parties” that would pleasure top management but would be hated by the rank and file!



Make your employees feel important

Take the time to praise and remind them HOW IMPORTANT they are to the business.  Occasionally, give them a gift and reward their hard work with surprises that money can’t buy like additional time off.


Making employees feel more valued and important will go a long way. It increases productivity, creates more satisfied employees and customers.



Have a question? Ask Alan…

If you have a small business question email it to Alan: alan@alan-adler.comQuestions may be combined and answered in an upcoming column of “Ask Alan!”



Alan Adler is an Executive Coach, Business Consultant & Speaker. He’s worked for Westinghouse Broadcasting, as a producer/director and with senior management at AT&T, as a corporate spokesperson. Additionally, Alan has been an entrepreneur, creating and growing his own business, Alan Adler & Associates. As a result, he knows management, media and marketing. Alan specializes in helping entrepreneurs through mid-sized businesses, improve profitability. He lives in Huntersville, NC with his wife Mindy. They have two grown children, two adorable grandchildren, and a rescue dog named Bentley.