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Updated: September 4, 2023 Know How

The key to recruitment and retention: transparency

We hear it all the time: Store managers and small business owners saying, “We can’t find good help these days.” Call it a recruitment crisis. Consider it a retention failure. One thing is clear: Many employers are struggling to find employees and keep them happy at work.

Tim Winkeler serves as president and CEO of VIP Tires & Service, which has a facility in Worcester.

In a world where even Zoom is calling employees back to the office, many employers understand the importance of in-person, face-to-face culture. Workplace culture is the difference between success and failure in 2023. Nail culture, and employee satisfaction becomes a strength. Mess it up, and your company’s pasture goes from green to brown quite quickly.

One chronically underrated component of culture is transparency, whereby employees learn to understand the business, feel ownership and connection to it, and adjust their work habits to add the most value. Employees are more loyal to employers that trust them enough to share and explain the underlying business success factors, in addition to goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics strengthening the bottom line.

Workers need to feel connected to their leaders and comfortable communicating with them. Even employees in entry-level positions should have a clear career path and know what it takes to succeed. From servicing clients and customers to earning promotions and pay raises, the most committed, engaged workers aren’t left in the dark.

Transparency means educating workers about the training and certifications leading to career advancement. Transparency means informing employees about their career path and pay potential. Transparency means outlining a structured long-term plan for the highest achievers, who deserve to know where they will be if they stay with the company. Most importantly, transparency means frequent opportunities for employees to provide honest, constructive feedback to improve the company.

For employers, the first key is to be open and honest in all communications, and then connecting the drivers of business success to the drivers of employee success. Achieve alignment between company and employee goals, and everyone wins. This applies not only in terms of pay, but broader decision-making. Look at it this way: 96% of engaged employees trust management, while only 46% of disengaged ones are trusting, according to research firm Gallup. That’s the difference between a great culture and a broken one.

This year alone, VIP Tires & Service has opened two new locations, our seventh and eighth in Massachusetts (one in Marshfield and another in Lowell). We are growing rapidly in the state and across New England, not because our company is some $1-billion unicorn or because we invented some cutting-edge technology. Our success is built on our culture.

At VIP, employees have a voice. All the best changes we’ve made to build a better company have come from our annual employee survey and our yearly employee meetings. VIP team members know through open communications, training investments, certifications, and sustained support from our leadership team, they can earn their way from an entry-level position to a highly paid manager or master technician.

The best workplace cultures exhibit transparency, welcome honest communications, and leverage each person’s desire to succeed. Workplace culture is the key to recruitment and retention, whether you run a biotech firm or you provide automotive service to everyday drivers. And transparency is the key ingredient of culture.

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