In early 2020, I contributed a Biz Tip article on staff development, but much has changed in the composition of our workforce during that time. In my May 12 webinar “Marketing is Everything and Everything is Marketing,” I spoke about how staff development and retention are key elements to your overall marketing strategy.

Every service business is keenly aware of the importance of front-line staff to customer satisfaction, repeat purchases, and the overall customer experience. Even non-service businesses can falter when a particularly skilled employee chooses to leave. As Wyoming continues to experience historically low rates of unemployment, employee turnover remains a major threat to the success of all small businesses. Let’s take a look at some key concepts related to viewing your staff development as a key element of your marketing strategy.

  • Reputation: How you treat your staff spreads quickly in a community. When workers have a choice of where to work (or continue to work) in a tight labor market, maintaining a pleasant, rewarding working environment is one of the best ways to retain strong staff members. And be careful of the messages you send to your staff: running down competitors or speaking negatively of other current or former employees can also cause serious damage to your reputation as an employer.
  • Consistency: Employees often report that fair and consistent treatment are essential to workplace satisfaction. We’ve all seen it or done it when Employee A asks to leave early on a Friday and is allowed to do so while Employee B’s similar request is consistently denied. Yes, some workers are better than others and we may provide more leniency because of that. But instead of making inconsistent choices regarding employee requests, find other ways to recognize performance, which brings us to our last point.
  • Recognition: Most people realize “it’s just a job” on one level, but the service you provide your customers and quality work your staff does is enhanced when they feel their work is worthwhile, appreciated, and recognized. Say thank you when a staff member has performed particularly well and provide detailed feedback on their performance, such as, “Thank you for handling that difficult customer. He was being unreasonable at first, but you really did a great job helping him understand the importance of our policy.” The better your people feel about their work, the better experience your customers will ultimately have, and ultimately, the better your bottom line.

Sure, social media and web marketing strategies are extremely important in the success of your business. The way you treat the people who actually make your business work, though, are just important as the wording or timing of a social media promotional post. When you think marketing, think about every corner of your business.

Need more staffing tips or advising on any business topic? Contact your local Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network advisor at All Wyoming SBDC Network services are completely confidential and offered at no cost to Wyoming residents.

About the Author:  Paul spent 25 years with an entrepreneurial-minded small business in the educational publishing market that attained an international footprint and experienced sustained, substantial growth. While in the publishing industry, Paul served as Editor-in-Chief, Chief Marketing Strategist, Product Development Specialist, and Instructional Designer. His business specialties include marketing strategy formulation and deployment, staff development, and business growth strategy.

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