Secret to Successz
The Best Investment to Make in
a Glass Business
by Paul Bieber
Yes, there is one investment that is the best you can make
for your glass business. Top of the heap, king of the hill.
I guarantee that this investment will pay you back more than any other
investment you can make. And let me be the first to tell you, my guarantee
So now that I have hooked you into reading this article, here it is: People
are more important than bricks or steel. You can invest in a building
or you can buy a truck. The truck won’t run without a driver, and the
build-ing will hold glass and metal, but
a person needs to cut it to size,
Invest in your people. Work hard to hire the best people, train them and
retain them. Below are some tips to do all three.
An Employer’s Market
It is still an employer’s market. Hire the best people now and they will
grow your business. There are great people looking for a career rather
than just a job. So, decide on ten qualities that you want in your “perfect
employee.” Then decide at what level you will hire. You will never get
all ten, but you can certainly shoot for seven or eight. It takes more
interviews and time to find better people. Do it. It will probably cost
you more than if you hired someone with only five qualities, but it is
worth it. Don’t settle below your goal because you will only go through
this exercise continuously, which will cost more in the long run. You
can always teach skills; work ethic and responsibility are by far more
"A key employee
who helps you maintain your customers is as important as the computer
that stores their names and addresses."
Train your people to the standards and goals that you want for your business.
Don’t lower your standards to accommodate someone’s skill level. Teach
and preach what you want, give your glaziers and office staff a clear
understanding of what you expect. Give them daily feedback at the beginning
of their work life with you. Review their progress at designated times,
after 90 days, after 180 days and then annually. Be sure to give them
the tools they need to learn, too—access to the Internet, meetings with
vendors, attendance at seminars at local trade shows and exposure to new
products and ideas. Encourage them to grow their talents.
You will lose an occasional person who you have put a lot of work into.
That’s life. What is more important is that you will have good people
with whom to continue working.
Retaining Your Investment
Retention of key employees is the most important job you have as a business
manager or owner. If you have eight or nine point employees, tell them
how valuable they are to you and pay them their fair worth to you. Good
employees value both. Make your benefits at least as good as companies
around you, and better if you can. A key employee who helps you maintain
your customers is as important as the computer that stores their names
and addresses. You plan to buy a new small edger every five years, but
if you had people who cleaned it regularly, it would last ten years. Retain
those people that help your business.
Treat good employees like family. Know their families’ needs and work
to fulfill them. Send birthday cards, give time off to attend a child’s
play or baseball game. Praise good employees and give special rewards,
which don’t have to be expensive. Two tickets to a local cinema or a $20
gas card are remembered for a long time.
If you have a turnover problem, look in the mirror. Are you explaining
the job duties correctly in the interviews? Are you losing good people
and you don’t know why? Talk this over with a trusted friend or business
advisor and look for honest answers.
All businesses, no matter what size, will benefit by retaining the best
employees, and that is the best investment you will ever make.
Paul Bieber has 30 years in the glass industry, including
21 years as the executive vice president of Floral Glass in Hauppauge,
N.Y., from which he retired in 2005. Mr. Bieber’s opinions are solely
his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of this magazine.
© Copyright 2010 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.