“The employer generally gets the employees he deserves.” ~ J. Paul Getty

Did you ever consider that promoting a great employee could be one of your worst moves? Consider this, if the promotion requires skills the person can’t master and work that he or she doesn’t enjoy, you are setting up your great worker to fail. Because your Lead Restoration Tech may be the best one you have ever had does not mean they will become a great Operations Manager, Project Manager or Project Co-Ordinator.

Here is what I suggest you do. Match each of your employees’ talents and interests and your organization’s needs. Retain your best employees with these practices:

  • Understand their ambitions. Your top Water Tech may have no interest in being an Emergency Service Project Manager. That person may be content excelling at all the techniques and tips he has learned over the years and by attending all those IICRC courses you send him on. Unless you talk to them and get to know them they may crave a totally different type of challenge. Some workers are satisfied delivering their best work for eight hours a day and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Others are aiming for the highest slots on the organizational chart. You won’t know unless you ask.
  • Clarify the options. I believe that every time you have a need to fill a position in your company that you should post it so everyone either has the chance to apply or they may have a friend or acquantaince who would be perfect for the job. You should discuss options with employees and provide a realistic view of different jobs. Discuss the required skills and what a typical day on the job involves. If they qualify for a postion and are a serious candidate you will need to disclose pay and incentive plan options. I suggest you offfer opportunities such as job shadowing so that they can preview openings before they apply.
  • Be creative about compensation. Recognize that a bigger paycheck isn’t the most satisfying reward for every employee.If you can’t boost the salary of a top worker, perhaps you can pay a bonus or incentive for that person to train others. If your best customer service rep is applying for a different position solely because she wants to work different hours, find a way to make that happen in the current job.
  • Show the value of every team member. Talk regularly about the contributions that staff members in every position make to your organization’s success. Employees will see that they don’t need to hold a certain title to be an important member of the staff.


Allowing employees to use their best skills in jobs they enjoy improves productivity and reduces turnover. When you have a great worker, hold on without holding that person back. Always be talking about how each person in the company is critical to the success of both the company and delivering outstanding customer service.

“The five steps in teaching an employee new skills are preparation, explanation, showing, observations and supervision.” ~ Bruce Barton – author 1886-1967