How To Keep Your Unicorn Employee Happy: 5 Things You Need to Know



We all have that employee. The one that knows it all and does it all, and not even in an “ew, he/she is so perfect” way. Your literal right hand man/woman, especially for those soloprenuers out there! 

Those employees are the unicorns. They love working for you, and with you! Eager to please, and even more eager to learn, keeping these employees happy and on your team should be one of your main priorities.

But how exactly do you do this? Because as wonderful as you are, your personality isn’t going to be enough to keep them coming into work, day after day. In order to retain your rock star employee, you need to put in some intentional effort. But don’t worry, we have a list of exactly what you need to do to make sure that happens!


Recognize Their Efforts

Praise is one of the few things in this world that’s free, so there’s no need to budget! Dish out those words of encouragement as often as you see fit. The trick here is to be sure to do it both publicly, and privately. 

Handwritten notes are always a great way to give praise, along with a social media shoutout. Even just simple emails and texts, with a “great job” here and a “thank you so much” there make a huge difference. 

Not only will kind words make your employee feel great, they’ll also boost the overall brand morale. Smiles and kindness are infectious… in the best way possible. Praise is one of the best ways to retain employees and it doesn’t cost a penny. 


Provide Education

Encouraging your employee or employees to continue to learn works in two ways. First, the most obvious, it helps them keep up with the ever-evolving design world. Rules, regulations, trends, branding… it all falls on you, unless you have that employee that you trust to help take on some of that work. And continuing education is a great way to do that.

The second, most equally important reason behind encouraging professional development is that it instills oodles of confidence, and lights a fire under that employee’s biscuits! Sending information on free workshops, emailing little tidbits from your favorite designers and coaches, or just passing along fun memes is a great way to say “I see you, and I want you here with me, forever and always,” but not in a creepy, you-can-never-leave-me way.

It’s not always feasible to pay for workshops, but there’s tons of free communities out there that are loaded with tips and tricks for all things interior design. 




Trust Them with the Big Projects

Now I’m not saying send your number one out into the world in a sink or swim situation. That’s a surefire way to scare them right out of town. But entrusting your most valued employee(s) with big tasks allows them to feel respected, like they count. And self-worth is a great feeling! Who wouldn’t want to work in a place where they feel all fabulous and valued!

Start small, with little projects that you know they can handle. These should still be meaningful jobs, just things that you know will end successfully. You know, set your rock star employees up for success! Then, work your way up to bigger, more front-facing projects. This will also help you lighten your load, so it’s truly a win-win.


Always Remember, Feedback is a Two Way Street

Don’t be afraid to kindly let your unicorn know where he or she can improve. The foundation of success is learning, and these employees are eager beavers! They’re ready to learn all they can from you, the good, the bad, and the ugly. And if you provide great feedback for the good and the kinda bad, you can usually avoid the ugly. 

But, at the same time, make sure your design superstar knows that he or she is able to share their thoughts as well. They don’t have to tell you how to do things, but it should be known that you’re open and willing to do things in the most efficient way possible, and that suggestions are always welcome. 

Set aside some time each week to make sure you can sit down face to face (even if it’s done virtually) with your valued employee(s). And I know you’re super busy, especially those of you that are doing all the things by yourself with just one or two extra sets of hands in the office. So even just a standing 15 minute meeting with intentional discussions goes a long way. 

Not to mention, you’re pretty amazing, so no doubt you’ve chosen the best of the best to work with you, so these meetings can be fun, too.  


Empower them to Use Their Strengths

Get to know your unicorn and recognize their strengths, and weaknesses. Then put them in situations where they’ll truly shine. That doesn’t mean they should avoid things they’re not great at, because that’s how we all learn, right? But giving them the confidence to excel will take them far. And empower them to test the waters for things they’re not so good at. 


Final Thoughts

The fact of the matter is, you are running a business. There’s a lengthy list of things you have to constantly keep in mind as a business owner… confidence, mindset, wealth, knowledge, experience, and talent are amongst the many things that come into play. Successful business owners are open to continued learning, and always empowering themselves and their team to improve. There’s no place for complacency in the business world, especially when your business is design! 

If continued growth and development is something you value in the world where business meets design, join me in my Business Bakery… along with a ton of other talented, determined, and motivated interior designers. I’ve got the secrets to merging design and business, while maintaining a positive and productive work environment. That’s right, I said it… you can have it all, while keeping your unicorn employee happy.

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