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Growth from within



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Senator Bennett’s fourth annual rural business conference Part IV

One of the presenters at the summit was LoveSac CEO, Shawn Nelson.

Quality Employees, Where to find them and how to keep them
Rhett Roberts, president and CEO of Redmond Minerals, maker of Real Salt, presented the quality employees breakout session. His company has a near zero turnover and he credits that to finding the right employees and treating them right. When he began his company he contemplated the kind of company and atmosphere of the workplace that he wanted.
“Your organization should be created around the goals you set for your company, and the employees you hire should be aware of your goals, and be willing to attain those goals,” Roberts stated. “Once the right person is attracted to your company, the workplace should be the best place for that person. For this to work, all employees should be focused on the same goals as the company.
“Like niche marketing, which is a specific market for a specific product, the workplace should be that niche for that certain employee. You should strive to create an attractive workplace. You need to be flexible and family oriented. Our motto is that good enough never ends,” said Roberts.
Real Salt has five standards by which they look for employees. The first is hire heart-train technical. This means that the employee must have the drive to do the job at hand, with the company’s goals in mind. No employee will come into a job totally trained to do the job, so training is not the focal point of a person’s qualifications.
Next, the company will examine the applicants integrity and honesty. If an applicant is lacking in either of these areas, they will not hire them.
The third qualification is the applicant’s wanting to do something bigger than themselves. This means that the person has no hidden agendas, or goals that do not match up with the company goals. Roberts stated that there is no room in his company for politics or personal competitions.
Number four on the list is whether the person is a team oriented person. At Real Salt, a portion of the income of an employee is a bonus based on team results. If the team works together and accomplishes their goals, the bonus is bigger. A team cannot work successfully if one part of the team is not fully onboard.
Share the spoils is the fifth component. Along with the team bonus, there is another bonus that is based on the profit of the company. Twice a year, the books are opened, the profits evaluated by the employees, and that profit is shared equally. If you expect honesty and integrity from your people, you must show them the same honesty and integrity.
Jonathan Coon, CEO of 1-800-CONTACTS, was the next presenter. He said that while in college, he started his business from a voice mail service. After graduation from Brigham Young University, he began looking for an office to continue his work. He discovered that purchasing an older home was more economical than to rent office space.
“I began my business with a cell phone and voice mail. I always talked to the customers as though there were lots of people in the office. I always said ‘we’ when referring to a company I was running by myself.” said Coon.
“When we expanded and began to hire more employees to handle the phone orders, I realized that there is no room for ‘I’ in a company. You must think of your employees as internal customers, and those customers needs have to be considered. When looking for employees, look at their unique qualities, and then take good care of them after they come on board,” Coon stated.
Since the beginning days of 1-800-CONTACTS, the working conditions have improved and Coon went on to say that now the company is located in a very nice building in Orem. There is a restaurant-like cafeteria and an on-site gymnasium. There are plans underway to put in a day care facility next.
“When I started this company, I decided that I did not want this place to be known as someone’s ‘lousy job’. Our focus is on our internal customers. If we don’t take care of the internal customers, they can’t take care of the external customers,” said Coon.
James Petersen, of the American Manufacturing Extension Partnership, explained their goal. AMEP is part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and their goal is to improve competitiveness and performance of workers. Their services are offered around the state and the nation.
“By doing something because that’s the way it’s always been done, a person or company builds in inefficiency. Don’t be afraid to try something new,” said Petersen.
There are seven steps to a successful business venture. The first is the right product. A person should do the research necessary to determine whether their product is the right product. The second step is to determine if that product meets the needs or wants of the customer.
Thirdly, a person should have a solid business plan in place. Company objectives and goals are fourth. Number five is to communicate the goals and objectives to a prospective employee, and the number six, measure the employee against those goals.
Finally, a determination of the process. For any project to be successful, the process should work with minimal problems. A study was completed that found that 95 percent of an employee’s time on the job was non-value time. This meant that only 5 percent of the time was spent on productive work. Each company should evaluate and work to improve their percentage.
Petersen also stated that many businesses use staffing services or college employment services. Each of those services can help someone locate the specific type of employee they are looking for. His advice for smaller companies in less populated areas is to use referrals from present employees.
Roberts finished the breakout session with the thought “The incentive for employees is the feeling they get from working hard and accomplishing goals, not lining someone else’s pocket. Never talk about compensation as an incentive.”

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