Good isn’t good enough

I love my job. Photo: ©istock.com/lculig
I love my job. Photo: ©istock.com/lculig
Photo: ©istock.com/lculig
Photo: ©istock.com/lculig

As the economy expands and the labor pool contracts, the No. 1 concern of many North American business owners 
and managers is how to recruit and retain a quality workforce. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that, while the total population of those 65-plus will increase by about 38 percent over the next 10 years, the 18- to 24-year-old group will stay about the same. Additionally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for grounds maintenance workers will increase by about 13 percent between now and 2022.

With escalating competition for the best of a shrinking labor pool, the employers who will come out on top won’t be those who are just “good.” Good isn’t good enough anymore. According to Fortune magazine: “The single best predictor of overall 
success is the ability to attract and retain talented people.” So, what can you do now to ensure your organization not only survives but is able to thrive in the years ahead?

Here are a few ideas.

Employee recruiting

Define your unique employment proposition. Come up with your list of the top 10 reasons great people should want to work for you. The easiest way to do this is to ask your best people why they hired on, why they stay and what they like about their jobs and the company. Then, to recruit the best, broadcast this information far and wide.

Paint the picture on the box. You can’t hit the target if you don’t know what it looks like. Have you defined the mental and physical abilities, attitudes, personality traits and skills needed for an employee to be successful in your organization? Once you have, all applicants should be measured against these criteria so you don’t waste time on anyone who wouldn’t be a good fit. (And no matter how difficult recruiting becomes, never lower your standards because it would be tantamount to shooting yourself in the foot.)

Do it daily. Recruiting is like bathing. To be effective, you have to do it every day. Always be looking for your next great hire, whether you need someone now or not. Then, when you do have a need, you won’t have to resort to desperation hiring. Invite former good employees to come back. Start an employee referral reward program and deliver the reward on the day the new person starts (not 90 days later). Advertise regularly on Craigslist.

Employee Retention

Conduct stay interviews. Exit interviews are too little, too late. Save yourself the headache of having to conduct an exit interview in the first place by regularly sitting down with the people you’d hate to lose. Find out how they’re doing, if there’s anything you could do to make their jobs easier and what, if anything, would cause them to leave. Also, do they have any concerns or ideas to improve things? Employee retention is a matter of continuously re-recruiting your good people, and the only way to do it right is to religiously solicit employee feedback and input.

Stay competitive. If one of your best employees resigned for a 50-cents-an-hour raise, what would you do? If you’d offer to match or better the offer, give this person that raise now—before this unhappy scenario happens. If you do, you’ll be a hero and earn a great deal of loyalty. Whereas, if you’re pushed into it later, that employee will always be tempted by slightly higher offers.

Employees first, customers second. When you take good care of your employees, they take excellent care of your clients. Research proves that retention and productivity increase dramatically when the workplace offers employees respect, recognition, rewards, rules, relationships and fun. If you can make work fun, you’ll have a surefire competitive recruiting edge, and it’s not that hard to do. Challenges, goals, camaraderie and celebrating successes are fun and foster dedicated teamwork.
No, good isn’t good enough any longer. It’s time to step up your game because now, besides attracting and retaining customers, it’s up to you to attract and retain the best employees to keep those customers and grow your business.

Photo: ©istock.com/lculig

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