Your people are your most valuable asset. When you are a start-up, they are critical. They represent your company to your customers, vendors and your associates. When your people interact well with each other, they will make your workplace productive and satisfying on many levels.

Remember, most top producers aren’t found, they’re made. Most often, you create top producers with positive culture, mentoring and coaching. Here are some tips that worked for us to attract and keep the best people:

  1. Ask your buyers and vendors for potential employee referrals. They already know several top performers because they have worked with them. Since they have a stake in the hire, they will help them be successful. This is especially true with sales personnel.
  2. Paying for Performance is the best way to attract and keep performers. When your staff creates extra income, share the “found money” with them. Always take a smaller piece of a larger pie. Performers can’t afford to quit; non-performers can’t afford to stay.
  3. Have your Employees’ Best Interests at Heart. Build loyalty by showing you care about what’s important to them. Beyond their achievement and work ethic, the things they care most about are their income, acknowledgement of their work, time off, career development and security.
  4. Fit the Job to the Skill Set. Once you have found the people who demonstrate the integrity and attributes you are looking for, reorganize to build the ideal jobs for their skill sets. Everyone will benefit, especially your customers.
  5. Give Public Acknowledgement. When a staff member has an anniversary, send the entire staff a memo listing how that person’s last year’s accomplishments improved everyone’s job and security. This builds appreciation, team spirit and improves morale. It also encourages everyone to work hard to get that acknowledgement.
  6. Give extra days off with pay. There are 3 months during the year when there are no official 3-day holiday weekends. We actually increased production among office staff by creating extra 3-day weekends in those months — March or April (depending on Easter), June, and August. They all put in extra hours to complete their work before the get-away.
  7. Share the ups and downs. Relate to your staff as partners, especially in the early days. Once they understand their raises, bonuses, and benefits are based on the success of the business, they will be more interested in achieving that success.

Invest in your team and reduce turnover. You’ll save recruitment and training costs, protect your relationships with buyers and vendors, and increase productivity and profitability. The dollars you spend maintaining continuity and stability are investments in your most valuable asset, the team you’ve built.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact