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What Being a 6th Grade Babysitting Tycoon Taught me about Employee Engagement

Updated: May 25, 2023

When I was in 6th grade, I started my own babysitting club. I built a thriving business based on

  1. A healthy stream of leads from my Mom, who happened to be the local preschool teacher, and

  2. Flyers designed with “Print Shop” software and passed out to neighbors, door-to-door salesman style.

I ended up converting enough customers to need extra help, so I hired 3 of my friends. One of them had a phone---which was a huge asset in those days. We ran our business out of her bedroom using her phone number. Then one day, she just quit…and stole my clients in the process!

Thankfully, my clients ended up liking me enough to track me down.

Through the past 15 years of specializing in Human Resources, I’ve been solving all kinds of problems. I often think back to that moment when my friend quit as a sort of “aha” moment, which led me to ask:

Was I just not discerning enough about hiring in the first place?

Did she feel she wasn’t getting paid fairly?

Should I have been more discerning about who I invited into my “club” in the first place? (Please don’t judge me---phone ownership and a pink room were serious assets in those times.)

Or was she just plain bored?

Turns out that these are universal concerns for many businesses---big or small, pink room or boardroom.

Do you know how to win the hearts and minds of your employees? Here are some ideas.

Get Solid on Your Nuts & Bolts People Procedures

People are central to making a business thrive and require star treatment well beyond the interview process. When you have clearly defined policies and procedures and killer onboarding processes, employees will be more at ease. You also need to develop a compensation structure that is not just “fair” in your mind, but that actually meets their preferences (hint: this isn’t always about a dollar amount).

A New Approach to Strategic Planning

With the “gig economy” and flexible workplaces being all the rage for now and into the future---giggers are to be at about 34% of the workforce and rising, according to CNN---the old-school idea of strategic planning around HR issues needs an overhaul. For instance, more and more people aren’t looking for the traditional long-term, 9-5 scenario.

Where’s the Talent?

Today, there are so many different types of strategies you can use to find top talent than just posting an ad on a job board. And this process is even more flexible the business framework can be. Top talent that is an absolute fit with your company culture could be hiding in unexpected places; it may just be that you need a new perspective or an innovative strategy to help you find and keep them.

Employee Relationships

The platinum rule, “treat others as they want to be treated,” is an essential part of any healthy relationship, because it accentuates the fact that people have different ways of receiving things like praise. Finding out what is important to the individual---and sticking with it---is the key to great workplace relationships.

Great leaders are able to navigate these relationships in a way that is fair and compassionate.

Want to learn more about building a thriving workforce? Contact me for a free half-hour consultation. I’ll help you build a team that propels your business forward instead of slowing you down.

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