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Two Ways to WOW Your Team and Retain Top Talent

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By Shay Hughes

In today’s highly competitive business climate, creating an outstanding company culture is critical to attracting the nation’s top talent. While drawing talent to a company is one battle, an even larger challenge is retaining an amazing workforce.

Since opening our doors, our team’s happiness has always been a top priority, and the rewards have paid ten-fold. We are fortunate to be recognized by Fortune and Entrepreneur as one of the top company cultures in the nation, and have been ranked the #1 Best Place to Work in every region we operated in last year. Best of all, we have nurtured an outstanding team of people who have incredible work ethic, and who treat one another like family. I can truly say it has been such a rewarding experience for our team!

Over the years, we have watched many of our ideas blossom into practices that have played a major hand in the happiness and fulfillment of each of our team members, as well as shape our award-winning company culture. Here are two of our most cherished practices, in hopes to inspire other businesses as well!

Make Welcoming New Team Members a Fun Experience

The power of a first impression is critical, with both clients and team members, and is an opportunity that every company should embrace. Creating a super positive experience for new teammates from the beginning can play a huge factor in retaining top talent in the workplace. At Hughes Marino, every new team member’s first day is packed with fun activities as well as an organized orientation planned by our talent engagement team to ensure that they feel as welcomed and appreciated as possible. As an added special touch, each new team member is gifted with a goody-bag packed with Hughes Marino gear, books from some of our favorite business coaches, notebooks, inspirational quotes and our signature WOW cards. (More on these later!)

Embrace Recognition in the Workplace

Giving heartfelt recognition and appreciation at work, especially publicly in front of the entire team, might be a rare occurrence, but it is often a missed opportunity for team members to feel appreciated and fulfilled in their careers. Chairman & CEO Jason Hughes and I always make a point to recognize our team members as much as possible in a variety of ways–including via email or in front of the entire team at our team meetings. We even begin some of our meetings by going around the entire room and asking each team member to share the name of someone they are appreciative of and why. We have found that these activities have spurred some of the most inspiring and powerful moments we have—and we encourage every company to give it a try.

WOW Cards–Our Invitation to You!

Years ago, we made a conscious decision to take the concept of recognition one step further. We aimed to empower each team member with the ability to honor their peers for going above and beyond, and for truly creating a “WOW” worthy moment. This idea has taken on a life of its own in the monthly presentation of our “WOW cards!”

At the beginning of each year, everyone on our team is given five WOW cards, designed by our marketing mavens, to recognize one another for selfless acts. A team member could be recognized for leading a challenging project, organizing a fun event, or even for a random act of kindness displayed outside of the office—the possibilities are endless for the amount of wow-worthy moments that touch the hearts of our teammates. An added bonus is that each card is worth $50, but the monetary value is nothing compared to the impact of being recognized and appreciated in front of the entire team.

WOW cards have grown to become one of our favorite elements of every team meeting. The outpouring of gratitude inspires each one of us, and it sometimes even brings people to tears. These simple WOW cards have shaped our culture into the loving and supportive atmosphere that Hughes Marino has today.

The waves of positivity experienced by practicing appreciation and recognition in the workplace can have a tremendous impact on both teammates and clients, and we are so grateful to experience this at Hughes Marino on a daily basis. Happy people make happy team members, and if they feel appreciated and loved, amazing things will happen! Feel free to download our WOW cards below to use for your own team. We hope you consider giving them a try and would love to hear how these practices impact your company culture!

Wishing you and your team a year of WOWs!

Click on the template below to download WOW cards for your own team!

Shay Hughes is president, COO, and owner of Hughes Marino, an award-winning commercial real estate company specializing in tenant representation and building purchases with offices in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Seattle. Shay writes about business leadership and company culture on her blog, Lead from Within. Contact Shay at 1-844-NO-CONFLICT or shay@hughesmarino.com to learn more.



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