• Donna Sooter

Dream Manager and Employee Retention

I thought I would take a break from Mike Michalowicz books and read one that he recommended in his book Fix This Next.  I choose The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly.  It’s a short but powerful book on building a strong organization that people will want to work for.  It’s about getting to know your team and what they dream.  The premise of the book is:  if we are helping to fulfill our employee’s dreams, then they are more willing to help fulfill our dream.  Let’s see how this book unfolds.

The first part of the Dream Manager is set in a fictional janitorial company that is having a turnover problem.  The personnel manager knows that the line workers are in a dead in job but there must be a way to change the tide on the turnover.  He starts with a simple survey to ask the employees what and how they felt about their jobs.  After looking over the results, he finds there is a huge transportation problem.  Many of the people that work there don’t own cars and janitorial happens a lot at night where public transportation is limited.  

The manager approaches the owner with the information and an idea to start a shuttle service for a good portion of the employees that live in a specific area of the city.  The owner is skeptical but reluctantly agrees.  Turn over drops and employees are starting to talk about the company in a positive light.  


The story progresses to what else they could do to fix the turnover issue.  The personnel director suggests a radical idea to hire a Dream Manager.  This person would get to know the workers and what they aspire to do or have in their lives.  Many of the employees have money management issues, so they bring in a coach with a financial advisor background.  

As the Dream Manager begins to help the employees realize their dreams the turn over issues is now within a reasonable limit and as a matter a fact the company has such a good reputation for caring for it’s people, they have more than enough applicants to fill their position.

This not only fixes the turnover problem but leads to higher profits and more sales.  The company discovers that the happier the workforce is, the better they do their jobs.  This keeps clients happy and even promotes new sales.  


Now, I hear what you are saying.  Donna I don’t have enough money to hire a Dream Manager.  I get it because I’m right there with you.  However, this does make me pause and ask the question.  Do I know what my team’s dreams are?  Money is not the only motivating factor in life.  I have a couple team members at their wage ceiling.  I don’t want to lose them but without some kind of reward for doing a great job, I will lose them.  That has me wondering if I know them well enough to help fulfill their dreams.  Maybe their dream is to take a month off of work and travel Europe.  Maybe their dream is to only work four days a week.  Maybe their dream is to go back to school and needs a flexible schedule.  Those kinds of dreams I may be able to help with.


Next time, I will get into the application portion of the book.  For now, spend some time thinking about how you can make a real difference in your team’s lives.  I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas and stories.