In the fashion business, not only do you have employees, but you have contractors. While it’s hard enough to find the good ones, it is even harder to keep them around. Learn the various reasons why your employees will leave you, how to prevent it from happening and how to manage it whenever it occurs.
1. Don’t Make Talent Feel Disposable.
When it comes to feeling disposable, the thing you really want to keep in mind is contractors and freelancers. While they might have lots of things that they’re doing, they ultimately want to feel acknowledged for their hard work. They know they can get freelance work almost anywhere. Really, the nature of contracting is you’re not committed to one thing. However, there are permalancers in the field. There are people that will stick around because they’re committed, they like you and they like your vision. They like what you’re doing and they want to be a part of it.
Even though they’re contractors, or even employees, they shouldn’t feel disposable. Meaning, we all know at the end of the day that anyone can do anyone’s job. It’s not too hard. Look up “How to Do X, Y, Z for Dummies” and chances are you might be able to figure it out yourself. However, when you find people you like and people you really enjoy working with, you need to build them up as well. You need to make sure they feel valued and appreciated within your organization.
Use simple gestures like, “Hey, thank you for your work,” or, “Hey, your contribution is really valuable,” or, “Hey, it’s great working with you.” Really simple gestures like those can go a long way. Certainly make sure it’s authentic because as much as you can smell BS, so can everyone else. Be genuine, be authentic and don’t treat your people like they’re disposable- even when they may be because guess what? We all are to some degree.
2. Don’t Run a Dictatorship.
Nobody wants to be in a dictatorship. Even though you might be the head of your fashion business, meaning you’re in a place of leadership, understand that even though you might have seen success so far by doing everything your way, by virtue of having more people on board, you are saying, “Yes. I’m open to seeing things in a different way.” You need to say, “Yes, I’m open to hearing new ideas, new perspectives,” because you trust in the people who you’ve retained to give you that type of guidance and that advice because they own their own respective silos.
Imagine you’re hiring someone to manage social media at your fashion business. Certainly, you have an idea of what you want. You have an idea of what you’re looking for. However, you’re hiring someone with an expertise in that area. You’re hiring them for their expertise so they can improve on your ideas. They can add their perspective and what they know works in the marketplace to your business. While you have ideas, you need to trust in that social media person to run with your brand in a way that’s most beneficial to the business and your bottom line.
You’ll still have conversations and come up with strategies together, but you need to let them have ownership over what it is they’ve been hired to do. Otherwise, it’s just going to feel like they’re another cog in the wheel, and they’re not going to be as invested.
3. Avoid Micromanagement.
Micromanagement often goes hand-in-hand with dictatorships. No one wants to be micromanaged. We doubt you want to be micromanaging either. Though, again, as CEO, it’s easy to say, “Well, I want to see everything in and out. I want to be involved in every offline conversation. I want to make sure I know exactly what’s happening.”
Yes, to a certain degree, you do need to know everything. However, you do need to know when to let go a little bit. You need to know when to be able to say, “Okay, I’ve trusted in the people who are working for me. I trust that if something’s going on or if things seem to be bubbled up, that they will. I trust that my weekly check-ins are going to provide people with enough time to ask questions. And I trust that they’re going to be able to work collaboratively together.” When you hire a great team, it’s important that they build a rapport with each other.
It’s not just simply how well you get along with that person or how well they work with you. It’s about how they work with everyone else. Imagine you’re micromanaging one person but not everyone else. What is that going to do to that employee’s or that contractor’s morale? Definitely take a step back and start to understand which internal dynamics, corporate structure or office culture you want at your fashion business. This doesn’t just apply to the people coming into your office every day.
If you have a remote, global team of people, the same principles apply. Everyone needs face time. Everyone needs to see each other, even if that means virtually, because everyone wants to know they have a counterpart and that there are other people. We’re in this together. In the day and age of virtual work, it’s easy to say, “I’m alone. I’m by myself. I’m in my bedroom or my office, and I’m just in my own silo,” even when one is part of a larger organization. Business owners, do your best to bridge collaboration and a feeling of teamwork and connection among your employees and contractors.
If you want to learn a little bit more about hiring and management, see our blog post on “How to Handle Low-Performing Contractors and Employees.” It’s very important that you don’t just expect people to dive and be amazing all the time when you bring people on board. Chances are there will be dips in performance.
Also be sure to download our favorite interview questions. I love interviewing people. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I think that’s why a lot of our clients ask me to hire people for them. I think it’s great. Use this download to learn great tips on how to hire properly and how to be a better and more efficient and effective manager.
When you’re ready to build your fashion business into something that’s growing, scalable and sustainable, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.