50 states project | Apr 15, 2021 |
How do you keep a good team together?

Ten stars of BOH’s 50 States Project weigh in on the secrets of employee retention.

MISSION CONTROL

“The key to retaining rock-star employees is to make sure they are properly cast and that they believe in the mission of the organization. If an employee is doing work that does not ful ll them and is not in their ‘zone of genius,’ they will always be on the lookout for the next opportunity. Similarly, if the employee doesn’t believe in the company mission, then the work isn’t personal to them, and they won’t be compelled to go the extra mile when times call for all hands on deck to push a project past the finish line.” —Arianne Bellizaire, Louisiana

How do you keep a good team together?
A gallery wall is layered with colorful artwork, framed fabrics, souvenirs and wedding photos.David Tsay

GOOD VIBES

“I know I don’t like feeling bogged down or suffocated at work. I need to feel a positive energy in the office, opportunities for spontaneity, and room to make errors and learn from them. It’s important that an employee’s voice feels heard and understood—and perhaps even more importantly, the employer needs to express gratitude and give praise when tasks and assignments are done well! This industry is an onion with thousands of layers, and it can be very stressful. Words of affirmation go a long way.”Laura Thurman, Tennessee

DRIVER’S SEAT

“I try to give as much autonomy as possible during the design process.” Bailey Austin Bird, Oklahoma

PEER REVIEW

“We see all of our wins and losses as learning experiences, and we are always looking to help our employees grow by identifying their strengths and se ing them up for success with the proper roles within our companies. We have quarterly check-ins to make sure we always have a pulse on how everyone is doing. We also have our employees review their own performance before we add our two cents. People are much more apt to be harder on themselves than we are, which gives us perspective on how they view their strengths and weaknesses.” Miranda Cullen and Devon Tobin, Duet Design Group, Colorado

EMPLOYEE APPRECIATION

“I give my core team days off without notice and pay raises just because, hand out extra bonuses for jobs well done or before holiday weekends, and make sure I let them know verbally that I think they’re tops. And I always make their birthdays special—cakes, presents, surprise parties, the works. Design is a high-stress industry, and creative people can be hard to work for.  There are days when we’re all on edge, so we have to maintain a balance.” Jaimee Rose, Arizona

How do you keep a good team together?
A kitchen by Tiffany Skilling.
Ashlee Kindred, Ash & Co. Creative

CHECK-IN TIME

“I take care of employees by showing them how what they do directly impacts the success of the business. I also make sure to show that I appreciate and care about them, and to provide recognition for accomplishments. My all-time favorite thing to do is surprise my employees with things like a newly released coffee table book, tabletop pieces or inspiring art when they least expect it. I’ve found that generosity and thoughtfulness goes a long way.” Tiffany Skilling, Indiana

WIN, WIN

“Taking care of my star players requires having a vested interest in their growth. Yes, I want them to be amazing contributors to the firm, but it’s also important that their own professional goals are an active part of our reviews. When team members are listened to in this way, they perform at their best and we win together.” Chanae Richards, ọlọrọ Interiors, Pennsylvania

DREAM COME TRUE

“Have an open dialogue with your employees about their dreams and desires within the business, then strive to meet those. Always let them know how appreciated and valued they are in what they bring to the table. Inclusion is very important—and a salary increase when possible never hurts.” Cristina Casañas-Judd and General Judd, Me and General Design, New York

Homepage image: A Manhattan project by Cristina Casañas-Judd and General Judd | Courtesy of Me and General Design

This article originally appeared in Spring 2021 issue of Business of Home. Subscribe or become a BOH Insider for more.

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