Forget about keeping employees, keep people. 

This weekend, I am going to drive an hour and a half to pick up one of my very good friends and his new bride from the airport so that they can hang out with me and my family for four days at our house. Let’s call my friend Tyler (because that’s his real name).

In addition to being a close friend, Tyler happens to also be an ex-employee of mine. 

I remember the day that we met. He walked into our office while I and another manager were extremely busy. We had been looking for someone to fill a position and had forgotten that we scheduled Tyler for an interview that morning. 

When he came in, he looked way too young (because he was probably too young) and definitely didn’t have the personality that would seem like a good fit for the position (he may have been TOO nice and polite). I (being a young guy with a chip on my shoulder myself) stuck my neck out for him and we brought him on board. 

That risk was one of the best I have ever taken. 

When he was working for me the guy was amazing! I knew that I could delegate tasks to him and they would get done as well (or in some instances better) than if I had done it myself. I could ask him to work an insane amount of time that wasn’t required of him and he would do it simply because he knew that it would help me sleep at night knowing that he had it handled. 

Have I said that the guy was amazing yet?

But, as with all good things, it had to come to an end. Tyler told me one day that he had to go into another field or else he knew that would regret it the rest of his life. So I let him go, and I’m glad that I did. 

“But TJ, how can you be glad that you lost one of your best employees ever?”

I didn’t lose him. 

If I would have fought him on it and gotten bitter about his leaving I may have lost him. 

If I would have slandered his name to other businesses or people in the community saying that he was unreliable or uncommitted (because of my insecurity) I may have lost him. 

But I didn’t. He’s still around and he’s still amazing. If he ever decides that what he’s doing now isn’t working out I would hire him again in a heartbeat. I’m currently supporting him in his dream and I know that he will continue to work with me to make mine happen.

Tyler’s not the only one either. I have many team members that I would take anywhere I went because I know that I can trust them with the task at hand, whatever it may be. 

It doesn’t matter if I can call them “employees” right now or not. They are still part of my team. 

They know that if they need something I’ll be around to help out. I know that if I need something they’ll do whatever they can. 

We are doing great things together now and will continue to do so in the future. 

How do you feel about the people you work with? Do you care about your team’s immediate needs? What about their futures?

 I hope so that you do care. I hope that you prove it to them every day with your actions. I encourage you to start working towards creating a group of people that you can count on wherever you go and in whatever venture that you may be pursuing. Your investment in people will always yield great returns.