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Expansion and Growth

Business was booming for Admiral. There were more clients and more income. Turnover was down, and the falling turnover meant the cost of doing business was also falling, so profits continued to rise.

There were many advantages to lowering turnover, but most of them Simon had overlooked at the outset. He had been almost obsessed with lowering turnover because he knew it was costing the company a fortune and making his life miserable. He'd known that the recruiting and training costs produced by turnover were enormous, but it was only now that they were solving the turnover issue that the many hidden costs of a disengaged workforce became apparent.

During the third year of the Dream Manager Program, Admiral's employees took only 17 percent of the sick days they had taken during the year prior to the introduction of the program. That was an 83 percent reduction in sick leave.

Over this same period, the on-time record of the employees had improved to the point where it was almost not worth measuring. Lateness was no longer an issue.

In the past, not only had there been a problem with employee turnover, but there had also been a turnover problem with clients. Not anymore. Admiral had not lost a single client in twelve months.

“It's scary, isn't it?” Simon said to Greg. “There are so many ways an employee can negatively affect the bottom line, everything from taking a sick day when they're not sick to using postage stamps for personal use.”

“It's true, but if you spend too much time thinking about that, you'll drive yourself mad. Trust me, I know! I used to do just that. The thing that strikes me is that if you take care of your people, they will take care of you. For sure, there will always be some who will take advantage of the situation, but they're the ones who lose out in the end,” Greg responded.

“I was thinking the same thing the other day. We have 557 employees now and our workload has increased 32 percent since this time last year, but we have used less cleaning product and materials this year than last year.”

“No, it's not possible,” Greg protested.

“Yes it is, Greg. I couldn't believe it when I looked at the numbers. I thought it was an accounting error, so I followed up on it. Cindy from Accounting told me that the managers have really been asking the workers to be conscientious about using products sparingly without compromising the quality of their work,” Simon explained.

“Productivity is up. Costs are down. Who would have thought that these would be the benefits of teaching our employees to dream a little?” Greg said, shaking his head.

“You think that's impressive, listen to this. José, who now manages one of the commercial teams, came to me last week and said they could handle an extra building each week if we needed them to. This group has already increased their workload by 27 percent this year, and they're coming to us saying they can do more work. Let me tell you, Greg, we have created a lean, mean machine. In all my years working for you, and for others, I've had a lot of employees ask me for more money, but I have never had anyone ask me for more work.”

Greg smiled.

“Incidentally,” Simon continued, “José was who we chose to replace Scott after he and the others resigned a couple of months ago.”

Even with the voluntary expansion of workloads, Admiral still needed more employees. Simon's focus was back on hiring, only now he wasn't just looking to fill places. He didn't have to frantically go looking for new employees and place endless advertisements on Web sites and in newspapers anymore. People were coming to Admiral now.

Admiral had been used to spending thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours painfully recruiting people, but not anymore. Now all of this resource was added to the savings created by the Dream Manager Initiative and, more positively, used toward building a more dynamic business and team.

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