By Jacquie Winiecki
Are you struggling with hiring and retaining employees? You aren’t alone. The modern-day workforce is understaffed and struggling across the board. We have all heard numerous times that “no one wants to work anymore.” But, what if that isn’t true? What if the reason is that they just don’t want to work for certain companies?
We spend one-third of our lives working; it should be something we enjoy, not dread. Employees are a company’s most prized asset, and in today’s day and age, retaining employees requires a little more effort than just a paycheck.
Long gone are the days of placing a help wanted sign in the window, paper and pen applications, and in-person interviews. Seeking out employees now comes in the form of online posts, electronic applications, and Zoom interviews. Recruiting rock stars isn’t as hard as you think. Here are four tips for finding valuable employees:
Get Social - Utilize your company’s social media accounts to advertise that you are hiring. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Programs like Canva can help you with templates and designs to make your posts more visually appealing.
Be accurate in your job description - While we all know that change is inevitable over time, you should be as accurate as possible in your job description. In order to succeed, your potential employee should know what is expected of them. In addition, a clear job description can serve as an evaluation tool to measure job performance. Though it may be impossible to list all tasks within your job post, don’t use “other duties as assigned” as a way to mask that you plan to overwork and underpay your potential new hire.
Look beyond a degree (experience matters) - While some positions legally require certain licenses and certifications, if your open position does not, you may want to consider if you really NEED to require a college degree or similar. An applicant with 5+ years of on-the-job experience could bring more to the table than a recent college grad. A college degree is a wonderful accomplishment and certainly an asset, but you don’t want to overlook the perfect applicant because they don’t have a degree. With more and more employers dropping college degree requirements, it may be time to re-evaluate your list of required qualifications.
Don’t judge a book by its cover - Bright-colored hair, piercings, and (non-offensive) tattoos are often signs of a highly creative person. Before you judge someone with any of these, give them a chance. Get to know them throughout the interview process and evaluate their skills and qualifications the same way you would anyone else. Let loose, have fun, and let go of outdated standards.
You have hired the perfect candidate, congratulations! But that’s not it. Hiring is just the beginning. If you have hired an employee who is an asset to your company, you’ll need to ensure that they want to stay, and that requires commitment. Here are a few ideas on how to make your company a business that people will want to work for, and stay at.
Everyone wants to belong - Take time to get to know your employees, recognize their achievements, and implement an open-door policy. According to the Harvard Business Review, high belonging was linked to a whopping 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days. Being recognized for accomplishments and having opportunities to freely express opinions are two of the main factors that help employees feel like they belong.
Be flexible - Allow generous time off for unplanned emergencies or allow employees to take unpaid time if necessary. Life happens. Understand that your employees are human beings with lives outside the office. Sometimes they may need a mental health day or have something personally important to them that they need to tend to during office hours. As an employer, you should understand that sometimes, circumstances are simply none of your business. Allowing time to re-energize will build trust, reduce stress, and increase long-term productivity. As Kait LeDonne says, “If you’re not exercising compassion as a leader, people WILL remember that.”
Ongoing Education - Offer opportunities throughout the year for managers and employees to improve their skills. Some companies offer in-house training. If your business does not have its own training courses, research educational seminars and conventions in your area and field and then encourage your employees to attend. Another great way to encourage education is to offer a yearly allowance to each employee that can be used towards work-related training.
Listen to feedback - If your employee has a concern, make time to hear them out. Furthermore, make a sincere effort to work through the situation together. Offer advice and listen to ideas. An employee who doesn’t feel that their concerns are important will stop expressing them, or even worse, look for another job.
Watch for turnover - If your company is suddenly experiencing high-turnover rates, it’s time to evaluate why. It's estimated that losing an employee can cost a company 1.5-2 times the employee’s salary. Whether it’s company culture, lack of pay, poor benefits, or something else, it’s imperative to get to the bottom of why your staff is leaving.
Make important dates meaningful - Anniversaries and birthdays are meant to be celebrated! Presenting an employee with a thoughtful gift will say to an employee “I remembered, and you matter.” and will mean so much more than company swag.
When implementing new policies, include veteran employees - I recently heard about a company that implemented a new process to celebrate tenure. For every 5 years an employee stayed with the company, an increasingly larger reward was offered. This genuinely excited the employees who had been with the company for many years. They asked how they could claim the rewards and were told that they would not be celebrated. This was only for employees who had not yet hit those marks. This created an environment where long-term employees were instantly angered by their place of employment. The morale suddenly decreased and workflow suffered. Veteran employees of 20 years or more with valued skills were thinking of quitting. The reward system should have included veteran employees, and this was, in my opinion, a huge mistake by that employer.
Treat people like adults - Reprimanding an employee for being five minutes late when they are normally on time, requiring a note from a doctor for every appointment, and demanding to be cc’d on every email an employee sends doesn’t build trust. It does just the opposite. If your management style is controlling, limits freedom, and creates a lack of trust within the workplace, I hate to tell you, but you are a micromanager, and no one likes a micromanager.
Lead by example - Bring positivity to the workplace and follow the rules. Treat others the way you want to be treated. An employee who is reprimanded for leaving a few minutes early on one occasion while their supervisor takes an extended lunch every day creates a negative attitude and environment. Be understanding of other people and mindful of your own habits.
Offer a competitive salary - If you have found yourself sighing at the cost of filling your fuel tank, your employees have done the same. A standard 3% cost of living increase per year just doesn’t cut it anymore. Furthermore, offering a standard increase across the board doesn’t recognize your hard-working employees (or give them that sense of belonging) or give way for constructive feedback/ healthy conversations with those who may be struggling. If you aren’t willing to pay your employees what they are worth, they will look elsewhere. It is inevitable.
Offer workplace amenities - Workplace amenities can improve the environment, bring people together, and significantly help with employee retention. Having a positive impact on employee satisfaction won’t necessarily break the bank. As Stellapop says, “Companies don’t necessarily need more space to add meaningful amenities – they just need to use the space they have wisely.”
Reward efforts, not just results - If your team made a diligent effort towards but didn’t quite make the goal, that is still a cause for celebration! Too many times, the negative aspect is the focus. Focusing solely on the negative aspect will not motivate your employees. Focus on what went well and treat the team to an outing or lunch where you can use the opportunity to brainstorm how to work together to meet the next goal. Not meeting a deadline isn’t always a failure.
It may be easy to lean towards micromanaging and negativity when you have a budget to keep and deadlines to meet, but keeping your employees on a tight leash will only create bigger problems for you and your company. If you create a rewarding work environment where your employees feel valued, they will want to be there, and they will want to work. No one wants to wake up each morning dreading the day. It is possible to have a good time while getting the job done, and not only is it possible, it will ensure your employee retention levels are phenomenal and morale remains high.
In Need of More Personnel Pointers?