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Mar 17

Top state CEOs talk retention, millennials – Upstate Business Journal

Building a business is hard, but it helps if you have good people – and can avoid those not so fit for your company, according to CEOs of some of the state’s fastest-growing companies.

“Most people focus only on EBITDA … but there are so many other aspects that add value to your business,” said Chad Odom, CEO of Greenville-based Encore Container, which ranked sixth in SC 25 Fastest Growing Companies. “I’ve let people go because I dread going into the office.”

Great employees are one of the most important elements in a thriving business, said Pamela Evette, president and CEO of Quality Business Solutions in Travelers Rest. The human resources company made the most recent Inc. 5,000 list with annual revenue growth of 49 percent to $905.6 million, and Evette said their largest client had around 48,000 employees.

“For us, it’s not just on the resume,” she said to a room of about 40 business leaders at the George Dean Johnson Jr. College of Business and Economics in Spartanburg. “I don’t want somebody that won’t help out. … Nobody’s job is more important than anybody else’s.”

Much of the panel circled around the growing millennial workforce, which has different approaches, expectations and attitudes toward the companies they work for, according to panelists. Evette’s daughter, for example, was disappointed with a $45,000 salary offer fresh out of college because her college counselor pegged entry-level pay at around $60,000, she said.

“I think what we’re seeing is they’re getting this from the colleges they’re coming from,” she said. “We kind of look for older, more established people, and they tend to have more reasonable salaries and realistic expectations.”

Job-hopping and company loyalty are also concerns when it comes to millennials, said Odom, which leads him to hire people he knows well and won’t be surprised with.

“The people coming out of school … they job-jump every two to three years. There’s absolutely no loyalty,” he said. “I go through them like changing clothes, and it’s not because I don’t have enough. … It’s hard to put your time and effort into training someone when you know they’re going to leave.”

Employee turnover is extremely costly to a business, said Greenville-based Green Cloud Technologies Founder and CEO Shay Houser.

“Employee attrition is brutal. It kills you,” he said. “As long as the employees know you’re passionate … they’re not going to leave.”

Greenville-based Creative Builders Inc. founder Will McCauley said despite the Upstate’s good economic climate, hiring good people was still “extremely tough.”

“Not only do you see those who don’t want to work, but we’ve seen a major demographic shift,” he said. “Without those right people, there is no value in your company.”

Source: Top state CEOs talk retention, millennials – Upstate Business Journal

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