As people continue to leave their jobs in search of companies where the grass is greener, it is worth exploring how businesses can attract – and retain – top talent. With the average American worker changing jobs every 3-4 years, building an atmosphere of loyalty and camaraderie has become increasingly important for leaders. Nefi Shannon, the Founder/CEO of Modern Brokers of America (MBA), is known in the solar industry for cultivating a work environment that invites collaboration and dedication. Below, he talks about how MBA has made employee retention part of its culture as it has scaled up to $100M in annual revenue and expanded across the United States.
“When I created MBA, one of my biggest goals was that I would give every employee the tools to succeed,” Nefi says. “Stop me if you have heard this before: ‘I am frustrated at work because I don’t have what I need to be successful.’ Most of us have felt that way. That’s especially true in sales, where even the most talented individuals can fall short if they don’t have the right resources. So, that was my first priority: setting up MBA’s employees to do their jobs well through a sales system that is simple and scalable.”
That was only part of it, however. While it was important to position MBA’s talent for success, Nefi knew that burnout would inevitably follow if he didn’t encourage a work-life balance. He decided to make the company’s motto “Work Hard, Play Hard.”
“A company will go under very quickly, obviously, if everyone sits around or does things half-heartedly,” Nefi says. “That’s a no-brainer. It is very true that at MBA, we go 100mph from the moment we get to work to the moment we finish for the day. However, that’s only part of the story. Behind the sales that we are enjoying across the country is our commitment to three things: recognizing top performers, getting to know each other on a personal level, and bringing family into the MBA culture.”
Nefi explains that at MBA, the highest achieving performers are rewarded with some amazing perks, including weekly dinners for those who hit their sales goals and trips to places like Ecuador and Spain for top quarterly employees. He says that by truly valuing MBA’s employees and giving such rewards, employees are inspired to try even harder.
“However, as great as all of this is, we don’t have a cutthroat atmosphere at MBA,” Nefi states. “That’s the last thing we ever wanted because it would bring the company down. Wonderful perks or not, people would be leaving if our culture was all about working ourselves to the bone to win that trip. We had to balance that with our commitment to getting to know each other outside of the office and to spending time with family.”
Sales, he continues, can be a stressful profession, so MBA has become known for its basketball and football tournaments, hosted parties, and paintball events. He says his employees can’t help but bond when they are on a party bus or are hanging out together at a pool party. Kids, he emphasizes, are always welcome at MBA gatherings.
“While there is a line between work and play, the reality is that everyone needs to let off steam and be with their family,” Nefi says. “At MBA, we recognize that when our employees throw a football together on the weekends or squirt each other with water guns, they will grow closer and feel more refreshed when they get back to the office on Monday morning. By prioritizing fun, we are actually helping people to improve and advance. All of this leads to more company loyalty and less turnover, even now in the time of resignations across so many industries.”
As MBA gears up for 2023, when it will expand to Atlanta, Charlotte, Denver, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, Nefi says that it remains committed to the same values that propelled it to where it is today.
“Turnover will always happen, of course,” he concedes. “That’s just part of having a company. However, when you can provide your employees with what they need to be successful and help them to have a healthy balance between work and their personal lives, you will build a business that accomplishes every goal you set for it and more. Most importantly, the people who got you there will be with you for years to come.”
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