Creating a Culture that Attracts and Retains Great People

This week on the podcast, Chris Elmore talks to Vicki Suiter, founder of Suiter Business Systems and author of The Profit Bleed: How Managing Margin Can Save Your Contracting Business. Vicki has been helping businesses stop the bleeding for over 30 years. They discuss how you can create a culture that attracts and retains great people. In today’s ever-shrinking labor pool for the trades its more important than ever to build a culture that attracts the stars and helps you retain them. 

What do you mean by “create a culture that attracts and retains great people?”

 When we think about work culture, some people think of mission statements and vision. Other people think it means touchy-feely stuff. Still others think it’s about rounds of beers. But I believe it’s about the environment you create that sets up a structure for consistent, excellent results, and creating an environment people where feel like they are successful, can make a contribution and have a sense of purpose and pride in who they work for and what they do. 

What do you see are the elements that create that kind of culture?

  • Letting people know how to win the game with you by having clearly defined position agreements that speak to results not task.  They are designed with S.M.A.R.T deliverables – they are specific, measurable, have clear accountability, are realistic, and time-driven.  They spell out how people can take ownership for results, not just tasks.  By putting these in place, staff members feel like they know how to win in their job, and how they contribute to the success of the business.  This is HUGE in terms of shifting company culture. 
  • Team has buy-in and agreement about what results define the criteria of success in their job (as outlined in the point above) and then they are provided feedback to let them see how they’re doing.  
  • Results are reviewed with them on a regular basis in order to maintain an open dialogue about what’s working, not working and needs to be different. 
  • There is open honest communication and feedback on what’s going well and what needs to be different.  When done openly and honestly, it creates an environment of trust.  An environment of trust is super attractive to great people. 


The mindset of this next generation of contractors is changing. What’s your perspective on this and how can managers and leaders tap into their potential?

They want what we all want – to have a sense of belonging, mattering and contribution.  They (like all of us) want to feel like what they do has purpose and meaning.  It doesn’t matter if they’re the janitor or a senior manager.  The way to foster that is by doing the things I’ve outlined above.  Doing so creates an environment where people can bring more creativity and autonomy to what they do, and thus feel a greater sense of ownership.  

 Here’s the link to Vicki’s book, The Profit Bleed , that she’s offering for free (just pay $7.95 shipping and handling) to our listeners. 

And people can go to Vicki’s website to check out her upcoming webinar in March “Build a Team That Takes Ownership” 

Download to listen later: Creating a Culture that Attracts and Retains Good People

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