One of the things about MarketBeat that I am most proud of is that we have never had any employee turnover in the company’s 13-year history of incorporation. We have only ever hired 12 people over the last decade, but we never had anyone quit or otherwise leave the company until last week. Our first employee, Stevie Shea, had her final day at MarketBeat on Friday after working for the company for more than eight years. Her departure had been planned 6 months in advance, and she is leaving to run GoGo Photo Contest full-time, a software business I co-founded with her and her husband in 2013. Stevie is graduating from MarketBeat and pursuing her own entrepreneurial journey, and our whole team is thrilled for her.
Now that our company has had its first instance of employee turnover, it has made me think about what makes MarketBeat different to work for than other companies. We do not work in an exciting industry, heavily promote our culture, or try to promote ourselves as the best place to work in town. Yet, whenever we have a job opening, we have no trouble finding qualified candidates that want to work for MarketBeat. When we do hire a new employee at MarketBeat, they tend to stay because we treat our employees fairly, compensate them well, and recognize that working at MarketBeat is not the only aspect of their lives.
Here are a few reasons I think MarketBeat has had such low turnover:
- We pay above market salaries. We pay well because MarketBeat has done exceptionally well as a company and we want to share that success with our employees. While it is hard to price certain positions, we pay about 20% above market salaries on positions that are easy to compare with other companies in Sioux Falls. We believe employees will stay with the company longer if they believe they are being well compensated. We also want the best talent and are willing to pay what it takes to attract that talent.
- We offer remote and flexible work. MarketBeat has a physical office in downtown Sioux Falls, but employees are not required to work there five days per week. We tell our team that we want to see their best 40-hours each week, but we are not especially concerned where or when those 40 hours occur. We recognize that dentist visits, oil changes, and other appointments happen during the workday, and we are not going to make employees take PTO because they need their teeth cleaned. Our employees regularly work from home and flex their time, and it does not seem to hamper productivity in any meaningful way.
- We hire people who have a good understanding of themselves. We like to hire long-term employees at MarketBeat, recognizing the cost and work disruption that employee turnover creates. For this reason, we try to hire people who have a good understanding of themselves and what type of work they want to do for the long term. If someone wants to try out a career for a year or two and then likely move on, they are probably not a great fit for MarketBeat. We also look for people that plan on living in the Sioux Falls area for the foreseeable future and generally know who they are and where they want to be.
- We avoid micromanagement. Given MarketBeat’s flexible work environment, accountability matters a lot because we are not looking over everyone’s shoulders every hour of the day. Our employees have lists of tasks and projects they are assigned. They report their progress on a dedicated slack channel each day, and we review projects at bi-weekly staff meetings. We are not constantly asking our people what they are working on or demand that they rush to hit an artificial deadline.
- We actually have fun. A lot of companies try to create fun for their employees, but we take fun ideas to their logical extreme. We built a startup ecosystem organization from scratch in 2019. We designed and manufactured new iron manhole covers for our office. We entered a burger battle and helped a local restaurant sell more than 2,000 burgers. We’re selling 25,000 cans of a custom craft beer to support two local animal welfare groups. We are underwriting this year’s community fireworks show in Sioux Falls and are also installing a 450-gallon saltwater aquarium in our office. These projects have cost us a bunch of money, but they have been fun to work on and we will look back on them fondly in the future.
- We enable people to pursue and achieve their dreams. One of the best pieces of advice that I got as an employer was to “ask your employees what their dreams are – help them achieve them, and they will be loyal to you like no other.” I try to periodically ask my employees what they hope to accomplish in life and what dreams they have. No, I usually cannot make their dreams happen for them, but I can often encourage them and connect them with resources that will help them achieve their own dreams.
We are fortunate to have the resources to pay well and create a good work environment for our employees. We have worked to create a unique work environment for our employees that focuses on flexibility, sustainability, and accountability. We think these efforts have yielded the low-turnover we have had and hope to set a new bar for creating a great work environment in our community.