One of my favorite quotes from Brian Tracy, motivational speaker and author, is “People are not your most important asset. The right people are.” Finding the right people isn’t easy, and I know many of you struggle every day with hiring great employees. You wish you could find the secret recipe other companies use or you think they have resources that you don’t. Those companies make it look easy; yet you continue to struggle. The inability to hire the right people is a common problem and statistics show that it’s not unique to any one industry, geographic area, or business size. According to CareerBuilder:
- 60% of CEOs report the inability to hire qualified candidates prevents their company from reaching its full potential.
- 48% of CEOs report they lost money because of inefficient recruiting processes.
I’ve worked with companies of all sizes in manufacturing, construction, non-profit, technology, and consumer products in both big cities and small towns. My most successful clients share six exceptional practices that I think set them apart. These practices can be implemented in any business.
1. Their top priority is building their team.
My clients recognize that hiring the right people builds the foundation they need to grow their business and meet their goals. Successful companies work hard to be very clear about what they want and what they don’t want. Running a business requires keeping lots of wheels in motion, and finding the time to understand the kind of people to hire always seems to be at the bottom of the list. When you put finding the right people at the top of your list, you end up with less stress, more time, and more profit.
One of my clients recently told me that spending time working on their ideal employee profile and creating a clear job description freshened up their ideas and needs. It also opened up a wider range of candidates that they might not previously have had access to. My client told me it was the best investment of their time ever.
2. They provide opportunities for their team to learn and grow.
My clients recognize that learning is a lifelong activity, and provide their team with plenty of ways to learn and grow with the company. This doesn’t have to be through expensive programs like tuition reimbursement or training. It can be as simple as giving them projects that move them out of their comfort zones or require them to do some self-teaching to learn a new skill.
One client gave her employee the opportunity to go with her on a “field trip” to do a client presentation so the employee could see what that experience was like. Another client allowed an employee to temporarily work in another department to fill in for an employee on medical leave.
3. They place a high value on their employees’ contributions to the company’s success.
I love that my clients do this. Recognition and reward programs don’t have to be expensive, and showing appreciation with a simple thank you or other small gesture goes a long way. My clients really get to know their employees. They make it a point to know the names of their spouses, kids, and even their pets. They say thank you often and mean it. They describe in detail what the person did that was above and beyond their duties, and why it was appreciated.
If you do have the resources, a bonus or profit sharing program is always appreciated. Sharing success and valuing contributions ensures that your employees will stay committed to helping your company grow.
4. They are great communicators.
My clients create environments where employees have a safe place to share ideas, give and receive feedback, and have their voices heard. They make expectations clear, and when those expectations are not met, they have open and honest discussions with their employees. They proactively address small issues so that they don’t become big issues.
5. They make work fun.
A good sense of humor goes a long way. Bringing levity and laughter into the workplace alleviates stress and builds camaraderie. You can do things like hosting days where your team wears crazy outfits, or their favorite sports team jersey, or holding trivia contests to compete against other departments or locations with small prizes for the winners.
Other fun things my clients do are providing opportunities to give back to the greater community. Allow employees to use work time to help others by collecting school supplies, winter coats, and food for your local food pantry. These activities are easily implemented and create a sense of pride as well as build strong relationships with the community.
6. They don’t just say they trust their employees; they show them.
I think this is the most exceptional thing any business can do. I see many businesses who say trust is a core value, and yet they put restrictive policies and procedures in place that say the opposite. Hiring the right people for your team means trusting them to do the right thing. When you write policies that are inflexible and make doing the right thing difficult, you show your employees you don’t trust them.
Creating focus groups or task forces to help develop new policies, draft strategies, research benefits, and create health and wellness activities, shows you trust your employees. Use their input to finalize your policies. Solicit feedback from your employees by inviting a few of them to have lunch with you once a month. Your employees get your full attention for an hour or so and have the opportunity to make suggestions and ask questions.
More than anything else, your hiring process builds the foundation for these six practices. If you could use a little help, read my recent posts on How to Turbocharge your Hiring Strategy and Find the Love in Your Hiring Process and you can always schedule a complimentary hiring strategy with me.
When you choose employees who are the right fit for both the job and your company, you’ll be rewarded not only with a highly-skilled staff, but also with loyal employees who contribute to your long-term success.