Around the country, and in many sectors, we hear about or witness firsthand the problem of labor shortage. I see signs hanging in windows and on doors of various retail shops, grocery stores and restaurants saying “Now hiring.” There are times when I am waiting in line to purchase something or sitting at a table in a restaurant and it seems like a lifetime before it is my turn or a server comes to bring me a menu. I always have to remind myself that these establishments are short-staffed and I need to be patient.

With the challenge of finding competent employees, also comes the task of retaining the ones you have. Recently, I have sat in on two industry-led discussions where this was one of the main topics. While there isn’t a concrete solution, one point that has been brought up several times and makes a great deal of sense is to create an environment where your employees feel involved and appreciated – a culture where they will thrive and want to stay. A place where everyone treats each other with respect.

The philosophy behind creating a work culture is that a happy employee will remain loyal to their employer. Their positive attitude will also pass on to their work ethic, including how they treat your customers. Give them a voice. In the sessions I attended, I heard several fabricators explain how they hold regular meetings where they let their employees share challenges they are dealing with or ideas they have. These employers show appreciation to their workers by making small gestures, such as a staff barbecue or taking them bowling or to a minor league baseball game. The gesture does not have to be grand, but something that will let your employees know they are valued.

Everyone wants to be treated with respect and feel appreciated. If a work culture is implemented, it can only lead to the overall good of the business, including a dedicated team that will want to stick around.