Real Leaders

Why This Disgusting Job Has One of the Highest Retention Rates

Yes, that Roto-Rooter! (I promise, this relates to hiring)

Recently, I had this company fix a clogged sewer line. Luckily, the problem was small, but the repair people reminded me of a valuable lesson.

While their machine was working, I asked the two Roto Rooter employees: “So, how long have you worked for the company?” Their answer floored me. One of the remote employees had worked for them for 18 years, and the other for 12. They were intelligent, professional, and capable individuals who had spent years making their living unclogging drains.

Most people would not want their jobs. Yet, these two men were proud to be working for their company. I asked: “What makes this company so special?” During our conversation over the next 10 – 15 minutes, this is what I learned:

  • The General Manager is honest, capable, employee focused and fair.
  • The company gives them the tools and the training they need to be successful.
  • The company communicates effectively and includes them in the company functions.
  • The pay and benefits are good.
  • The company keeps their service vans and equipment in good shape.
  • The company cares about them and respects their efforts.

I called the General Manager to congratulate him for having a work environment that the remote employees were proud of. We talked for several minutes and then, I asked, “where do you get your new employees?” Without hesitation he said: “Almost 100% are referrals from our current employees.”

Unclogging drains is a dirty, smelly job with long hours and difficult weather situations. But Roto-Rooter in St Louis retains good people because they focus on doing the right things. They treat their employees with respect. The net result – a growing, profitable company with low turnover, an engaged workforce and good customer service.

Today’s employees are saying: “Validate me as a person or lose me as an employee.” Do you have a turnover problem?

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