Giving your employees investment and ownership pays off

I don’t place my employees under a microscope. How could I? My career isn’t limited to one industry so I wear many, many hats. Besides being managing partner of my firm, I’ve owned multiple restaurants, a record label and more, employing dozens and dozens of people across the span of my career.

After two decades I can say without a doubt that I depend on each and every single one of them for my businesses’ success.

So I can’t waste time trying to pick apart if a possible hire is the talent I need.

I have to trust my gut and my instincts. My company and my reputation are only as good as the quality and integrity of my employees.

Take the very first employee we hired. This gentleman was completely qualified, and his resume proved it.

But it wasn’t his resume that got him the job. It was our face-to-to face meeting. Like every employee I’ve hired, I hired him on the spot.

Call me impulsive… it’s worked out.

My interviews are in person, open-ended and unscripted, because it’s the only way to tell if the employee will be the right fit. Employees need to work at the company like they own it. That first hire? He became my first associate. 20 years later, he made partner.

You have to live your values in your business. you have to make sure the talent you’ve found wants to stay. When I started my business I came up with an idea.

It sounds drastic but it’s transformed my business. At my firm, there’s no vacation time. Instead I decided employees get paid 52 weeks of the year, every year. They can take as much vacation time as needed. They just have to get their work done in a timely and effective manner. Pretty reasonable, right?

Apparently I’m not alone. To my surprise, I recently found out that companies like Dropbox and GE are using the same policy that I’ve been using in my business for 20 years. In all that time, not a single employee has abused my vacation policy.

Employees need to be given independence, and autonomy. I want them to have the ability to self-regulate. Again, I need to ensure they feel like they own their work and our company.

It’s not about offering my employees a fringe benefit. It’s about making sure they know I am one hundred percent committed to treating them as my equal.

I have always trusted my gut. But I have also strategically created a critical formula from my original act of good faith. It’s been a barometer for the character and integrity of the many employees who have worked for me. I treat them as equals. Because I treat them like equals, my employees treat the office like they own it. It’s not a long leash: it’s investment and ownership, and they respect and honor my policy.

I haven’t been disappointed. My people want our success as much as I do. More importantly, employees commit to our work. In over 23 years of business, I have an 80% employee retention rate.

See people for who they are, and make sure you see their values. If they’re committed to being the type of leader you are, you’ll have the respect and talent you need for decades of success.

This story was originally published on on 2/14/2020.